Warnock protects Atlanta control of airport

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) celebrated a provision he secured in the 2024 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that will help protect local control of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL). The Senator’s provision provides additional protections and clarity in the event that the state legislature attempts to wrestle control of ATL away from the City of Atlanta, as it often threatens.

“Hartsfield-Jackson is the busiest airport in the world, connecting tens of millions of travelers to the incredible history, culture, and businesses that make up ‘The A’. It’s only right that the City of Atlanta continues to control this gateway to the city,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “My provision helps protect millions in revenue flowing from Hartsfield-Jackson to Atlanta, and helps enable the city to continue supporting minority-owned small businesses. I was proud to secure these meaningful protections to guard against cynical state politicians trying to seize control of the airport.”  

The Georgia State Legislature passed a measure in 2019 to take over control of ATL from the city of Atlanta. The Senator’s provision, which he secured after offering it as an amendment during the Commerce committee’s FAA mark up earlier this year, codifies certain protections and processes in the event of a disputed change of sponsorship at a federally-obligated, publicly owned airport. This provision would make it harder for a hostile FAA to support such a takeover; it also protects millions in revenue for the city of Atlanta and ensures the airport can continue to promote contracts with minority-owned businesses and contractors. 

“Owning and operating the world’s busiest airport is something the City of Atlanta takes great pride in. ATL is the region’s premier economic generator, providing roughly 63,000 jobs with an annual $66 Billion economic impact on the state of Georgia,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “Because of former Mayor Jackson’s vision for equity and inclusion, women and minority-owned businesses are guaranteed a seat at the table of ATL’s growth and success. Thank you to Senator Warnock for his leadership and all who worked on guaranteeing additional protections for the City to keep ensuring equitable excellence at ATL at the federal level.”

The provision passed as part of the 2024 FAA reauthorization bill, which included provisions championed by Senator Warnock that will transform the aviation industry—including strengthening aviation workforce development provisions that will address the current shortage of pilots, mechanics, and manufacturers, and investing in consumer protections and safety for Georgians. Additionally, Senator Warnock secured critical investments for airport improvement projects in Georgia in the bill, which will bring millions of federal dollars to the state over the next five years; these grants will help construct and upgrade aviation infrastructure at the state’s airports—including terminal space, runways, security, and more. The Senator also led the effort to include new roundtrip flights to Washington’s Reagan National Airport.

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