Since 1998, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) in the United States has handled more passenger traffic per year than any other airport in the world – although Beijing is closing in fast. Traffic in 2017 dipped slightly to 103.9 million and, at a critical time of infrastructure expansion, there is a change at the top.
General manager Roosevelt Council Jr left in June to become chief financial officer for the City of Atlanta (the owner of the airport). Former deputy general manager Balram Bheodari replaced him on an interim basis, while the search continues for a permanent leader.
Bheodari is a seasoned executive at ATL, having worked at the Delta Air Lines hub almost continuously since 1999. Speaking to Jane’s , he described opportunities for the US gateway, as shown by the 5.1% increase in international traffic in 2017.
“We continue to work with all our airline partners to grow that lucrative market,” he commented. “We have a proactive Air Service Development strategy to communicate the strengths of our airport, and Atlanta as a destination. We engage regularly with airlines based on targeted studies of passenger markets left unserved and our efforts have attracted new flights such as Qatar Airways to Doha, and Turkish Airlines to Istanbul.”
To a great extent, the development of ATL is mapped out by its multibillion-dollar ATLNext Capital Programme, which began in June 2015. Bheodari is sticking closely to the timetable. “The majority of projects – approximately 100 are currently underway – are proceeding according to plan,” he said. “One of our signature passenger-facing efforts includes the construction of 900 ft-long canopies on both the north and south roadways; the north canopy should be complete [by the end of the year].”
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