The Atlanta City Council voted Tuesday to confirm the appointment of Balram Bheodari as Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s new general manager.
Bheodari will be paid a salary of $310,000 — more than his recent predecessors, but less than top managers at some other major U.S. airports including Dallas and Washington D.C.
Bheodari’s predecessor, John Selden, was hired in 2018 at a salary of $280,000. For years before that, dating back to 2010, the airport manager position paid $221,000 a year.
Selden left the airport earlier this year to take a job as CEO of the Neom airport development company in Saudi Arabia.
Bheodari is a longtime executive at Hartsfield-Jackson who had been interim manager of the airport since April, when Selden stepped down.
The city council’s unanimous confirmation vote comes after the council’s transportation committee voted 5-0 in favor of confirming Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ appointment of Bheodari to the position.
Andre Dickens, chair of the transportation committee which oversees the airport, called Bheodari “a great operations guy over the airport for many, many years.”
A retired Army pilot, Bheodari began working at Hartsfield-Jackson more than 20 years ago and was deputy manager of operations at Hartsfield-Jackson before being tapped to lead the airport.
Bheodari left Atlanta in 2015 to take a job as general manager of George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, but returned to Hartsfield-Jackson the following year. In 2018, he served a stint as interim airport manager before Selden was brought in.
In the past, the pay for the Atlanta airport’s general manager has been cited as a challenge in attracting some external candidates to the position.
Hartsfield-Jackson was the world’s busiest airport from 1998 to 2019, before losing the title for 2020 to an airport in China amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It has for years paid its top official less than some other airports that are smaller.
The CEO of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in 2019 got a base salary of $511,568 and a bonus of $183,295, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The CEO got a raise to $526,915 for 2020, the newspaper reported.
According to a 2018 report by NBC 5 in Chicago, a former commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation, which runs O’Hare and Midway airports, was paid $300,000 a year plus a $100,000 bonus, while her successor got a $275,000 salary.
The director of aviation at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, who oversees JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty, has an annual salary of $326,014, according to the Port Authority’s payroll webpage.
The CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates Dulles International and Reagan National airports, had a base salary of $488,595, according to a 2019 Washington Post article.
The former longtime CEO of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport was paid a base salary of $398,549 before he retired in 2018, according to AL.com. A new airport manager was brought in at a base salary of $300,000 a year plus a potential bonus, AL.com reported.