Atlanta officials announce intention to sign airport contracts

That company, SSP America Inc., had argued the evaluation process was flawed by evaluators' failure to take and keep notes, arbitrary scoring and deviations from protocol.

City officials defend the process, noting that the city produced hundreds of thousands of documents in response to open records requests. Top officials say they want to finalize the airport contracts as soon as possible so that the new international terminal can be opened this spring according to the city's schedule.

"Now is the time to move forward, so that we ensure that the international terminal opens on time and fully functional, and with all the necessities and amenities that international travelers expect," City Attorney Cathy Hampton said in a statement.

The city said it gave notice to unsuccessful proponents SSP America, Midfield Concessions, Take-Off Concessions, and Atlanta Airport Restaurants of its intent to sign contracts with the winning proponents. Hampton said SSP and Midfield had both requested a court order to halt the contracting process, and accused them of "once again turning to litigation to stall and avoid the City's procurement process.

The city's chief procurement officer denied previous protests by those companies, who then requested a hearing before an independent appeals hearing officer.

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