Atlanta Braves sought Dobbins runway access for team charter flights

File photo of the control tower at Dobbins Air Reserve Base.
File photo of the control tower at Dobbins Air Reserve Base.

The Atlanta Braves explored using the runway at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta earlier this year for the team’s charter flights, a spokesperson for the base confirmed.

Landing at Dobbins would have spared the team having to commute between Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to SunTrust Park on game days, when traffic could be worse than usual.

“The Atlanta Braves made an initial inquiry into the feasibility of airfield use at Dobbins Air Reserve Base earlier this year,” Capt. Meredith Kirchoff wrote in an email. “The partnership was not pursued as the runway at Dobbins ARB is not currently designated by the Air Force for joint use by private or commercial entities.”

Kirchoff wrote that the Air Force supports public-private partnerships “when appropriate and mutually beneficial,” and Dobbins enjoys strong community relationships throughout the Atlanta area.

The discussions regarding potential use of the Dobbins airfield took place in January and April, she wrote.

The Braves did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

At an October forum to discuss transit in metro Atlanta, the Braves' President of Development, Mike Plant, expressed confidence that the team's plan to manage traffic coming to and from the stadium would "work really well." The plan is being rolled out in phases leading up to first pitch at the new stadium in April, 2017.

"You don't want to talk to somebody about a movie premiere eight months in advance," Plant said. "That's why the phases (include) more and more details that become more and more relevant and get a lot more attention at the time you're going to use them."

Karl Von Hagel, manager of the Cobb County International Airport, said he was not surprised the Braves were unable to strike an agreement with Dobbins.

“Military bases are rather tough to use for civilian uses,” he said. “There’s quite a few hoops you would have to jump through.”

Von Hagel said Hartsfield-Jackson was likely the only airport in the area able to accommodate the type of large planes favored by professional sports teams.

A spokesperson for Cobb County said the county has no knowledge of the discussions between Dobbins and the Braves.