The Atlanta City Council approved a resolution on Monday authorizing the establishment of an air service incentive program as a way to stimulate international air cargo and passenger growth at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at a cost of up to $2 million annually over the next five years.
The purpose of this project is to stimulate air service particularly along routes that link Atlanta to cities located in countries that have some of the world’s fastest growing economies and air cargo traffic. The program comes at a time when air cargo and passenger traffic continues to increase worldwide.
Since the 1970s the volume of air travel has expanded tenfold and air freight has grown by a factor of fourteen, according to the International Air Transport Association, the trade association for the world’s airlines. And air transport has been one of the world’s fastest growing economic sectors.
It’s predicted that by 2050 aviation will fly 16 billion passengers and 400 million tons of cargo to designations around the globe.
“It’s time for Atlanta to become a formidable player in international air cargo traffic,” Councilmember Felicia Moore, chair of the city council’s transportation committee which has legislative oversight over airport operations, said in a release. “We have already proven to the world that we have one of the best passenger airports, and the numbers of passengers and carriers utilizing our facility reflect that.”
“An incentive program will ensure our competitiveness,” Moore said.
Hartsfield-Jackson is currently the world’s busiest passenger airport, serving more than 94 million passengers and connects to 150 U.S. destinations and more than 75 international destinations in 50 countries.
“With this new incentive program, Hartsfield-Jackson will be better positioned to attract additional passenger and cargo carriers to Atlanta,” Hartsfield-Jackson Interim General Manager Miguel Southwell said in the release. “As the world’s busiest airport, we are continually looking at ways to grow new routes and expand our cargo capacity, and this will certainly boost our global competitiveness.”
The incentive program is designed to develop the airport as a cargo and logistics hub.
Currently there are three main air cargo complexes at HJAIA.
Cargo carriers at the airport include:
- Air France – KLM
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- China Airlines
- DHL Worldwide Express
(launched April 2014)
- Korean Air
- Qatar Airways
Today, aviation supports some 56.6 million jobs around the world and accounts for 35 percent of the world’s cargo by value, according to a report by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) and Oxford Economics.
Since 1998, Hartsfield-Jackson has been the busiest passenger airport in the world, and since 2005, Hartsfield-Jackson has been the busiest operations airport in the world.
The airport has a direct economic impact of more than about $32.5 billion for the metro Atlanta area economy and is responsible for 58,000 jobs.
In other news, the Atlanta City Council approved a resolution authorizing the council’s City Utilities Committee to look into the allegations and complaints by employees in the city’s Department of Watershed Management.
The resolution allows for the committee to interact with all city departments and the city’s internal auditor, who is currently conducting an audit of the department which has responsibility for Atlanta’s drinking water and wastewater services.
Recently the department has experienced a rash of acts of vandalism and theft, among other concerns.