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: BUSINESS INFO III :

Airport marks a milestone
By Staff Writers

On September 21 in the Atrium, Hartsfield-Jackson celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Central Passenger Terminal Complex (CPTC), which opened on September 21, 1980.

On hand to mark the occasion were Airport interim General Manager Robert Kennedy; Valerie Jackson, wife of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard H. Jackson Jr.; Jim Drinkard, assistant general manager of Planning and Development; George Berry, former general manager (1978-83); other former Airport executives; and elected officials.

“Hartsfield-Jackson was created in the minds of visionary leaders,” Kennedy said. “Because of their courage, insight and leadership, we are able to stand here today at the world’s busiest airport. Today, we are celebrating our past and looking toward our future.”

Jackson, who said she was very emotional “just thinking about this Airport and what all it meant to me,” talked about her husband’s leadership in incorporating minority participation into the construction of the facility.

Drinkard reminisced about the early days of planning the Airport’s design — using paper and pencils, he noted for the younger people in the audience — and said he is proud to be a part of the Airport’s leadership team today.

The final speaker, Berry, cut the ceremonial ribbon at the grand opening of the CPTC on September 21, 1980. During the event, he spoke about his tenure at the Airport and the original description of the Airport’s design as “a high-rise building laid on its side with a horizontal elevator.”

“That night, that day [September 21, 1980], had to be one of the high points of all our lives, every one of us, who worked on it, dreamed about it, and who thought that being a part of such a dramatic undertaking would be something that would mark us for the rest of our lives — and it has,” Berry said.

After the program, guests were invited to tour the photographic exhibit in the Atrium. The photos and written passages told the story of the 1961 airport terminal and the developments in aviation that led to the 1980 facility. They also provided insights into decisions made in the planning and construction of the new airport and featured many of the key figures who played important roles in its creation.

During its first full year of operation in 1981, the terminal accommodated 37.6 million total passengers, 1.1 million of whom were international travelers. By 2009, those numbers had increased to 88 million total passengers and 9 million international passengers.

George Berry, former general manager (from left); Valerie Jackson, former Atlanta first lady; and Richard Stogner, former assistant general manager of midfield development, pose for a photo at the 30th anniversary celebration.


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

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