New company taking over currency exchange locations at Hartsfield-Jackson

A U.S. ten dollar bills sits among ten and twenty euro banknotes in this arranged photograph taken inside a Travelex store, operated by Travelex Holdings Ltd., in London, U.K., on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Caption
A U.S. ten dollar bills sits among ten and twenty euro banknotes in this arranged photograph taken inside a Travelex store, operated by Travelex Holdings Ltd., in London, U.K., on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Credit: Andria Brooks

Credit: Andria Brooks

Travelex, already struggling because of the rise of cashless payments and hurt even more by the recent drop in international travel, has shut down its currency exchange locations at Hartsfield-Jackson airport and is transferring its contract to another company.

With an increasing number of international travelers using credit cards and debit cards, foreign currency exchange businesses have faced hard times in recent years. The coronavirus pandemic made it even harder as international passenger traffic steeply declined.

Travelex Currency Services said in a memo to Hartsfield-Jackson last year that it was “in the process of winding down the corporation and has ceased all operations in the US.” It subsequently restructured the business and went through a series of cutbacks.

The company said it planned to assign its contract at Hartsfield-Jackson to Atlanta-based Business Travel Services Inc., which also operates InMotion stores, vending machines and other concessions at the airport.

Travelex has held the contract since 2012. When its seven-year contract came up for a three-year renewal in 2019, the company said it was unprofitable and asked for a decrease in rent.

The airport agreed to a reduced rent starting in September 2019 in an effort to maintain currency exchange services for travelers — even though it meant a $2.3 million reduction in receipts from Travelex.

Then the pandemic hit and decimated international travel. After Travelex locations closed, the transfer of the contract was delayed by negotiations between Travelex, Business Travel Services and the city.

The Atlanta city council transportation committee on Wednesday voted in favor of the contract transfer and to further reduce rent due to the downturn in international traffic. The deal now goes to the full council for approval.

Hartsfield-Jackson said it is “fully confident BTS will be prepared to begin operations as soon as possible in order to capitalize on the increase in international travel.”

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