Hartsfield-Jackson to offer incentives for new international routes

Airport will give money to new international airlines that offer routes to Africa, South Asia and South America
Travelers arrive and depart the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Travelers arrive and depart the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (Steve Schaefer / steve.schaefer@ajc.com)

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is relaunching an incentive program to attract new international routes, budgeting up to $1.2 million a year.

The Atlanta City Council transportation committee on Wednesday voted in favor of putting up to $6 million over a 5-year period toward the incentive program.

The Atlanta airport’s last incentive program ran from 2014 until 2019. Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines slashed nearly all of their international flights. They gradually restored many of them, but not all. Hartsfield-Jackson is now seeking to rebuild more international service and gain new routes.

“We’ll be pursuing new international passenger and cargo service, looking at mostly Africa, South Asia and South America for those new international routes,” said Hartsfield-Jackson senior deputy general manager Michael Smith.

The airlines and routes the airport is targeting for passenger flights include Icelandair or fellow Icelandic carrier Play airlines for Reykjavik service, Air India for Delhi service, Japan Airlines or ANA for Tokyo Narita service, and Hainan Airlines or Delta Air Lines for Beijing, China, service, according to a document submitted to city council.

Other targeted routes are Toronto City Airport in Canada; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Casablanca, Morocco; Taipei, Taiwanand Kigali, Rwanda.

The air carrier incentive program would offer up to $250,000 in matching promotional funds for an international carrier new to Hartsfield-Jackson that starts year-round nonstop international passenger service with at least three flights a week on a route new to Atlanta. That goes up to $500,000 for a new route to Africa or Asia.

Existing airlines at Hartsfield-Jackson could get up to $25,000 in matching promotional funds for starting year-round nonstop passenger service with at least three flights a week on a route new to Atlanta, or up to $100,000 if it is a new route to Africa or Asia. That includes secondary airports in a city already served from Atlanta.

The airport also plans to offer similar matching promotional funds for new cargo flights.

Hartsfield-Jackson says its marketing incentives include advertising at the airport worth up to $500,000, to be shown on screens around the airport.