Atlanta — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) General Manager Miguel Southwell unveiled specific details of the Airport’s $6 billion, 20-year capital plan at the inaugural State of the Airport luncheon. Additionally, Southwell detailed the Airport’s long-term strategic priorities to the sold-out crowd of nearly 900 attendees. The Metro Atlanta Chamber and World Trade Center Atlanta hosted the event; Delta Air Lines was this year’s presenting sponsor.
“As the dominant economic generator for the region, the world’s most traveled and most efficient airport continues to attract jobs and spur growth for metro Atlanta and beyond,” said Mayor Reed. “With the new capital plan, our long-term success is assured. Like the City of Atlanta, the state of our airport is ascendant.”
The capital plan, named ATLNext, will ensure Hartsfield-Jackson maintains its position as one of the most important airports in the world. For the first time, renderings and animations of substantial improvements planned for the Domestic Terminal’s atrium and the exterior of the Domestic Terminal were unveiled. In addition to these improvements, the Airport plans to construct a new sixth runway, new cargo structures, a new 400-room hotel with travel plaza and a new concourse. Investment in ATL is expected to top $6 billion, with nearly $1 billion to be spent in 2017 alone.
During his remarks, Southwell outlined six strategic priorities for the Airport’s long-term growth. These priorities are Safety and Security, Financial Viability, Economic Generation, Environmental Stewardship, Employees and Customer Service. Southwell pushed for new air service to China, India and other fast-growing economies. He also urged to restore service to Israel.
“We have had tremendous growth over the last year, and with our new capital plan, the next 20 years are only going to be more impressive,” Southwell said. “Not only will these projects be transformational for the Airport, but they will enable the needed expansion to accommodate the growing demand we have at Hartsfield-Jackson.”
Richard Quest, CNN anchor/aviation correspondent, served as the emcee for the event. Quest is the established veteran journalist who has interviewed all major airline executives over his career.
During the luncheon, Ambassador Andrew Young received the Global Leader Award for his decades of civic and philanthropic work, and for helping to expand international routes from Atlanta to developing markets around the globe. Delta Air Lines received the Global Corporate Leader Award for its exceptional strides in advancing Atlanta’s global prominence.
“The airport’s capital improvement program represents a significant boost to the region’s economy and will facilitate even greater global connections for our region,” said Hala Moddelmog, Metro Atlanta Chamber president and CEO. “The airport is a strategic asset in attracting new companies to the region and growing our region’s economy.”
Boasting a direct economic impact of $34.8 billion in metro Atlanta, a total direct economic impact of $70.9 billion in Georgia and supporting more than 440,000 jobs in the region, ATL is one of the state’s most critical assets.
“Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is a global icon in international travel,” said Craig Lesser, World Trade Center Atlanta chairman. “The Atlanta airport is one of the driving reasons that companies from around the world choose Atlanta as a launching pad for their business and trade activities.”