BNA celebrates 79 years

On this day in 1937, Nashville International Airport opened its runways to the growing air-bound public.  Only then, it wasn’t called that; it was named Berry Field Nashville Airport, thus the airport code BNA:

It wasn’t too long before the military requisitioned the airport for air support operations in World War II, however.  They were nice enough to expand the airport during this time, at least, and at the end of the war, they returned it to the city.

The airport was officially renamed to Nashville International Airport/Berry Field in 1988, but you hardly ever see the “Berry Field” part used anymore.

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BNA to cool itself geothermally

There’s a quarry’s worth of 50° water sitting beside a runway at Nashville International Airport.  So airport officials decided to put that cool water to use by circulating it through the terminal’s HVAC system, then back to the quarry.  The geothermal cooling system is expected to save the airport nearly half a million dollars annually, even though it cost over $10 million to build.

WPLN’s Chas Sisk reported on those plans a year ago.  And just today, his colleague Blake Farmer tweeted that they’re going to switch on that new system tomorrow, just in time for summer temperatures.

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Long lines expected at BNA

Our usually-tame airport is expected to get a little more hairy this week.  The folks running the airport say that they expect several conventions (such as the World of Asphalt, which is just as exciting as it sounds) to be wrapping up this week, especially Wednesday and Thursday.  Security could be a little more comprehensive, too, given the terrorist attacks that already happened on another continent.  All in all, we’re starting to sound like a big-city airport with officials recommending passengers arrive two hours before takeoff.

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Tennessee One Takes Flight

Southwest Airlines is celebrating 30 years of serving Nashville by unveiling Tennessee One:

Before taking a flight to Memphis, country music stars Chris Young and Cassadee Pope aboard to croon to the passengers, Mayor Barry and other notables christened the freshly-painted plane:

Standing next to the plane at the airport, Rob Wigington, the airport’s boss, said,

It really demonstrates the focus Southwest has on Nashville, in particular, and Tennessee.  That’s been shown by all the new service, the growth that they’ve achieved here, and all of our residents and visitors in Middle Tennessee benefit from that.

Southwest Airlines has long had a love affair with Nashville, apparently.

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Trump in Nashville

Donald Trump’s jet, egotistically emblazoned with his name, made an emergency landing in Nashville this afternoon after engine trouble.  The presidential candidate, who is apparently not in New Hampshire, was on his way to Little Rock.  The airport, for some reason, laid out the welcome mat for the candidate who has not exactly laid out the welcome mat for many immigrants:

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Good News and Bad News for Nashville Airport Authority

The Nashville Airport Authority is getting out of an unfavorable operating agreement, but it’s dysfunctional.

Nate Rau and Anita Wadhwani of The Tennessean report that under an agreement signed with the airlines in 1987 when the airport was a major hub for American Airlines, the airlines had veto power over major decisions at the airport.  The airlines were also on the hook for capital improvements that ran over budget.  Though the contract was set to expire next year, the airport negotiated its way out the contract a little early.

That’s the good news.

The bad news, brought to us by the same reporters, is that the airport authority, which employs over 200, has over 10% of its workforce in senior-level management and suffers from a lot of bullied employees.  Management blames this, in part, on the just-mentioned control of the authority by the airlines which they were under for many years.  They write:

The report — obtained by The Tennessean through a public records request — found a top-heavy organization whose senior management has for years been “paternalistic, dictatorial and centralized.” Completed in November by the firm Greeley Pond Technologies, the audit described the Airport Authority as “uncooperative internally and operating one year at a time in reactive mode, that is, more like a government bureaucracy than a proactive business enterprise.”

The Tennessean brings us the full stories about the release from the old operating agreement and about the dysfunctional culture at the Nashville Airport Authority.

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