John Selden, General Manager, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
One of the busiest airports in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in the U.S., has adjusted its business plan in respect of its credit policy and has on its own initiative, granted airlines opportunity of deferred payment of their landing and parking fees up to 2021, for payment to be paid.
According to the airport’s General Manager, John Selden, what his management team is offering is not a waiver for landing fee, but deferred payment of the fee as a way to lighten the burden on the airlines and return traffic to the terminal that had severally won recognition as the world’s busiest airport.
He said the new credit arrangement at the airport which before the outbreak of COVID-19, recorded over 2,5000 flights daily, but now has lost over 80% to Covid-19, will now allow payment for landings in May and June to be made in early 2021, as a means to keep the major players in air transportation –airline and airport- in business and to hasten recovery of aviation from the position of near inactivity the pandemic had consigned air travel.
One of the management of the Atlanta City Hall, owner and manager of the airport, Andre Dickens, who is the Chairman of the City Council Transportation Committee, described the initiative by the management of the airport as, “essentially, this is a step to help businesses continue their services so they can keep people employed”
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is a hub for renowned airlines such as, Southwest Airline and the home port for Delta Airline which alone operates over 1,000 flights a day in and out of Atlanta. But Delta Airline has now been forced to reduce its network-wide capacity by over 80%, courtesy COVID-19.
Available financial record of the airport as posted on its website revealed that in the 2018 financial year, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, collected as revenue from landing fees, USD$35,790,737. While records for the same year revealed that, approximately 450,000 aircraft landed at the airport.
The financial accounts of the owners of the airport, the City of Atlanta, which exercises oversight on the airport through the city’s department of aviation, in the same year, 2018, recorded revenue of USD$2,370,931,000. And in the Atlanta City’s annual report it says, aviation activities contributed 32% of its revenue.
It is no doubt the deferred payment of fees will engender significant pressure on the airport’s cash flow. However, it is yet to bring to public knowledge how the obvious shortfall in the airport’s liquidity challenge will be addressed when customers are granted such credit term while both the airport and the airline had suffered in a cash crunch and great lull in air travel.Share