Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport plans to offer up to $2 million in incentives to airlines that start new international routes from Atlanta, marking the first time the Atlanta airport has made such offers.
It’s part of an effort to better link Atlanta to the world’s fastest growing economies and developing a major cargo hub at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Airport officials plan to seek Atlanta City Council approval for a five-year incentive program starting in July that would waive landing fees for one year to airlines starting new international routes not already served from Atlanta. Passenger airlines could also get 50 percent matching promotional funds up to $25,000, while cargo carriers would qualify for a waiver of aircraft parking fees at the airport’s cargo areas.
Greater incentives would be offered to airlines that start flights to emerging markets and “premium” markets. Carriers that start flights to Africa, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia could get those landing fees waived for 18 months. Those starting flights to“premium” markets in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China or South Africa would get fee waivers for two years, along with more promotional funding for passenger flights.
Many other airports offer such incentives, according to airport interim director of business development Jason Terreri.
“It’s an industry tool,” Terreri said. “When we meet with airlines, this is the first question they ask: Does Atlanta have an air service incentive program?”
Total fee waivers and promotional funds for all carriers combined will be capped at $2 million a year on a “first-come, first-served basis.”
Hartsfield-Jackson is the world’s busiest airport for passenger traffic. Growing air cargo traffic, which can help drive economic development, has been a key initiative of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. But air cargo volume has declined in recent years, with Atlanta air cargo traffic falling nearly 6 percent last year.
The money for the incentives will come from airport funds, but will be “revenue neutral” to other airlines, according to the airport. Carriers could also get landing fees waived if they increase frequency on an international route.