Airport expanding concession space to make money, serve passengers

By David Pendered

Atlanta airport officials are adding retail and restaurant space in a move that will generate more money for the facility through concessions contracts.

Atlanta is expanding two concourses, C and D, to improve passenger circulation and provide additional amenities comparable to Concourses A (picture above) and Concourse B. Credit: stuckattheairport.com

Atlanta is expanding two concourses, C and D. The projects are to improve passenger circulation, and to provide additional amenities and concession space that’s to be comparable to Concourses A (picture above) and Concourse B. Credit: stuckattheairport.com

The airport is adding an unspecified amount of concessions space through expansion projects on Concourse C and Concourse D. In addition, other existing space is to be converted to concession use as it becomes available, according to airport General Manager Louis Miller.

The process of selecting prime vendors to operate some of the new space is to begin closer to the time space becomes available, Miller said. The FAA’s review of the airport’s last round of concessions contracts ended last month, when the agency dismissed its probe into the certification of disadvantaged businesses that won contracts in 2012.

In at least one instance, some of the new space will go to an existing vendor in apparent exchange for space lost to the construction process.

Areas/ARM was slated to lose space, and income, during the expansion process of concourses C and D. The company laid off 13 employees during the Concourse D project and expects to create 40 jobs to handle customers in its new, busier, retail space once the expansion opens, according to a lease agreement approved in January by the Atlanta City Council.

The majority of the new concession space evidently is being added through the midpoint expansion projects underway in concourses C and D.

Atlanta airport General Manager Louis Miller (left) and Jim Drinkard, the airport's head of planning and development, brief the Transportation Committee of the Atlanta City Council on projects at the airport. Credit: City of Atlanta

Atlanta airport General Manager Louis Miller (left) and Jim Drinkard, the airport’s head of planning and development, brief the Transportation Committee of the Atlanta City Council on projects at the airport. Credit: City of Atlanta

The Concourse D project is to open this summer and provide an additional 60,000 square feet in a three-story expansion. The job will add new concession and retail space, and two escalators, according the project description by the city and Holder Construction.

Work is soon to begin on the expansion of Concourse C. The entire job is projected to cost about $53 million and open in 2015. The contract for the major part of the expansion job is to be presented to the council this summer, according to Jim Drinkard, the airport’s assistant manager for planning and development.

Drinkard and Miller made their comments during the March 27 meeting of the city council’s Transportation Committee, which oversees the airport.

Meanwhile, the airport is converting smaller spaces to concessions use as the space becomes available, Miller said.

In one example, US Air intends to surrender 1,643 square feet on Concourse D and relocate services housed there to cheaper space elsewhere. That space will be converted to concessions, Miller said.

In another, the former ASA wants to relinquish about 378 square feet in the boarding level of Concourse C now that it is operating as ExpressJet. The airline’s old space could be converted to concession use, Miller said.

Concessions are a major revenue source for Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

More than 18 percent of the $411.2 million in airport’s revenues reported in 2011 came from the concessions program, according to the latest report available. Concessions rank third on the revenue sheet, behind parking ($114.4 million) and rent for buildings and land ($93.2 million).

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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