Atlanta airport plans switch from BlackBerry to iTravel store

The iPhone has replaced the BlackBerry in the hands of consumers across the country, and now the power shift is spreading to the world’s busiest airport.

Citing a steady decline in sales at BlackBerry stores on Concourses A and B at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the airport plans to allow a concessionaire to switch out the concept and introduce an “iTravel” store, an authorized Apple reseller. It would be the only store at the airport to carry a full line of Apple hardware and accessories, according to Hartsfield-Jackson.

It was just three-and-a-half years ago that the Atlanta airport held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of its first BlackBerry store — the first airport in the world to open such a location. When the store debuted, the airport called it “a techie’s dream.”

But while BlackBerry users were living in a dream, Apple was releasing new versions of the iPhone and introducing the iPad.

“BlackBerry has lost its presence in the market,” Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Louis Miller told an Atlanta city council committee. Apple devices “are much more wanted… than the BlackBerry.”

Miller cited a decline in BlackBerry market share from 41 percent in 2009 to 8.8 percent today.

Hartsfield-Jackson would be the second U.S. airport to have an authorized Apple reseller, after Boston Logan airport’s iStore.

The council committee voted Wednesday in favor of the change in concept by the concessionaire, Airport Retail Management, which is a joint venture partner of Areas. The measure now goes to the full council for approval.

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