celebrates international travel of past, present and future
Against a backdrop of the site where the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal is under construction, Hartsfield-Jackson celebrated the 15th anniversary of Concourse E. The Airport’s international concourse has served as Atlanta’s gateway to the world since it opened on September 21, 1994.
“Since its opening 15 years ago, Concourse E has proven to be more than just a series of gates,” Aviation General Manager Ben DeCosta said. “This concourse represents the platform on which our carriers have built profitable international growth strategies.”
In the year Concourse E opened, about 3 million international passengers passed through Hartsfield-Jackson. By 2008, that number had grown to more than 9 million. In 1994, the Airport offered service to 19 international destinations in 16 countries. Today, the Airport offers nonstop service to more than 90 international destinations in 55 countries.
Concourse E is responsible for more than just growth in the number of cities served. According to the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Global Commerce Council, the number of international businesses in metro Atlanta has nearly doubled — from 1,261 to 2,200 — since Concourse E opened in 1994.
The event also included remarks from Stephen Kremer, Atlanta port director with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Valerie Jackson, former Atlanta first lady and host of the radio show “Between the Lines” on WABE-FM.
Kremer spoke about the need for changes in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the collaborative response by Hartsfield-Jackson and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The programs and other efforts to enhance customer service while maintaining national security set the standard for other U.S. airports, he said.
“We needed … to let the world know that the United States is still a welcoming nation,” Kremer said. “We wanted to make sure that Atlanta presented all of our customers coming in with the most professional treatment while keeping our enforcement efforts to keep the United States safe.”
The commitment to customer service is paying off, he said, noting that recent survey results show increasing customer satisfaction with the international travel experience at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Jackson said that Concourse E — her “favorite concourse” — and the international terminal bearing her husband’s name honor his legacy of championing inclusiveness and connections.
“Action is the great separator, sometimes, between the haves and the have-nots,” she said in describing her husband’s and Airport leaders’ work to anticipate the needs of international travelers. “Action turns ideas into ‘I-dids.’ ”
DeCosta also highlighted Atlanta’s next phase of global travel growth.
“The Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal is an investment in the future of international travel in Atlanta,” he said. “The terminal will provide 12 new international gates and connect to Concourse E, creating a 40-gate international travel complex.”
Construction of the international terminal began in summer 2008 and
is scheduled to be complete in spring 2012. Nearly 900 trade workers
are on the site. In all, the construction project will create about
3,000 trade, professional and administrative jobs.
© 2009 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.