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New Atlanta Alliance Focused on Airport's Economic Potential

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport serves some 250,000 passengers and moves almost 2,000 metric tons of freight each day.

Having observed the global economic impact of aerotropolises around the world, and recognizing the importance of Hartsfield-Jackson to metro Atlanta, regional leaders began meeting two years ago. Courtesy ARC
Having observed the global economic impact of aerotropolises around the world, and recognizing the importance of Hartsfield-Jackson to metro Atlanta, regional leaders began meeting two years ago. Courtesy ARC
Patch Staff Report

On Friday, leaders from the Atlanta region’s public and private sectors officially launched the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance. The new Alliance will work to enhance metro Atlanta’s position as a global economic leader with a vision of transforming the airport vicinity into a world-class aerotropolis.

Having observed the global economic impact of aerotropolises around the world, and recognizing the importance of Hartsfield-Jackson to metro Atlanta, regional leaders began meeting two years ago.

Convened by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), discussions focused on the future of the airport area and how it might become a nexus for increased local and global economic activity to attract international corporations, logistics companies and others that benefit from proximity to the world’s busiest airport.

The concept of an aerotropolis is not new, but is a growing economic force around the world:

· An “aerotropolis,” a term coined by Dr. John Kasarda at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, is urban development that emerges around a central airport to connect workers, suppliers, executives and goods.

· Many major cities, such as Paris, Seoul, Dubai and Dallas are capitalizing on the economic power of their airports, building on the “aerotropolis” concept.

· More than half of all Fortune 500 corporate headquarters are located within 10 miles of a US hub airport.

· More than 1,000 firms are located within the aerotropolis at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport.

One company that has chosen the Hartsfield-Jackson area for its new home is Porsche Cars North America. And Joe Folz, Secretary and General Counsel of Porsche Cars North America, will serve as the Aerotropolis Alliance’s first chairman.

“We chose the airport area for our new headquarters and our Porsche Experience Center because we believe in the future of the Hartsfield-Jackson area and its importance to the Atlanta region, and because it literally brings the world to our door every day,” said Folz in a news release. “We have a tremendous opportunity to build upon the asset of having the world’s busiest airport to pursue development of our own world-class aerotropolis. I am pleased and honored to lead this effort.”

· The Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance is a 501(c)6 organization under Georgia law and currently has a board of 20 directors representing area governments, businesses, schools and nonprofits.

· The Alliance board has elected its first chairman, Joe Folz, general counsel and secretary of Porsche Cars North America.

· The Alliance also elected a vice chairman, Pedro Cherry, vice president for community and economic development at Georgia Power.

“Today’s Aerotropolis meeting is an important step forward in maintaining our position as the dominant economic generator for the region,” said Hartsfield-Jackson Interim General Manager Miguel Southwell in the release. “While this airport has grown our passenger service, air cargo capabilities and global businesses opportunities, we are also a vital part of the communities around us.  I look forward to working with the Aerotropolis Alliance to further develop Hartsfield-Jackson’s economic impact for the surrounding areas and the broader region.”

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport serves some 250,000 passengers and moves almost 2,000 metric tons of freight each day. As such, it is one of the primary economic engines of the Atlanta region and Georgia, directly responsible for at least 50,000 jobs and indirectly responsible for countless others thanks to businesses that locate here to have access to the rest of the world.

“Hartsfield-Jackson is more than just the busiest airport in the world. It is an absolutely critical cog in metro Atlanta’s economy,” Kerry Armstrong, ARC chairman and senior vice president at Pope & Land Enterprise, said in the release. “The region has a tremendous opportunity to attract global companies and increase the amount and the quality of development around our airport through the formation of this new Alliance.” 

Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance Board representation includes:

Porsche Cars North America, Georgia Power, Delta Air Lines, Prologis, Duke Realty, Grove Street Partners, Invest Atlanta, Clayton County, Fulton County, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, City of College Park, City of East Point, City of Hapeville, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Area Chamber of Commerce, Clayton Chamber of Commerce, South Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Woodward Academy.

For more information, visit www.atlantaaerotropolis.org

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