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Dignitaries toast debut of rental car center, ATL SkyTrain
By Staff Writers

The day before Hartsfield-Jackson’s rental car center and ATL SkyTrain opened for business, more than 300 people, including representatives from local governments and other dignitaries, gathered for a celebration and champagne christening of the train.

After Aviation General Manager Ben DeCosta and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin spoke about the facility at its Airport station, they joined Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell, National Public Radio show host Valerie Jackson and College Park Mayor Jack Longino aboard the ATL SkyTrain. Franklin broke a ceremonial champagne bottle on the car’s handrail to christen the automated people mover that serves the rental car center.

The event concluded at the customer service center, where officials delivered additional remarks about the history of the rental car center project and its significance to the Airport and metro Atlanta’s economy. Guests got a sneak peek at the rental car agencies’ counters and other features of the facility before its official opening to customers on December 8.

“The future has arrived. Our passengers will enjoy the speed and convenience of having all rental car operations, including customer transaction counters and vehicles, in one easily accessible location,” DeCosta said.

The opening of the state-of-the-art rental car center and ATL SkyTrain was the culmination of more than a year of planning and behind-the-scenes work.

Balram Bheodari, deputy assistant general manager for Operations, Maintenance and Security, commissioned an activation team in June 2008 to develop a plan for full public operations within 18 months. The plan called for collaboration with rental car agencies and officials from the cities of College Park and Atlanta.

With the ATL SkyTrain adding a new operational element to the Airport, the team developed several standard operating procedures and contingency plans. Airport officials created a detailed timeline that kept team members actively involved in every stage of the process and included tasks identified by each stakeholder.

Bheodari said the action template will serve as a guide for any new facilities that Airport brings online.

“From day one, we had a great team of professionals working around the clock on this massive project,” Bheodari said. “The collaboration on this project was simply amazing. Individuals from across the Department of Aviation pulled together, and each had a hand in making the Airport’s vision a reality.”

Dog park sculpture
Mayor Shirley Franklin breaks the champagne bottle to christen the ATL SkyTrain. Also pictured are (from left) Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell, Valerie Jackson (widow of Mayor Maynard Jackson), College Park Mayor Jack Longino and Aviation General Manager Ben DeCosta. (Photo by Andria Towne, director of marketing and public relations, Georgia International Convention Center.)


© 2010 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.

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