Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock Protects Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport From State Legislature’s Control

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Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) secured a provision in the 2024 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that will keep Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport under local control. 

The new provisions secured on May 24 come following an offer to amend it during the Commerce Committee’s FAA markup early 2024. It provides additional protections and clarity if the state legislature attempts to take over control.

“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,” Warnock said. “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 first attempt from the Georgia State Legislature to take over Hartsfield-Jackson happened in 2019. New protections supported by the FAA make it much harder for a hostile takeover. It also helps protect revenue for the City of Atlanta and makes sure the airport can continue to promote contracts with minority-owned businesses and contractors.

In a statement, ATL’s Mayor Andre Dickens thanked Warnock for his continuous support of local economic security.

“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,” Dickens said. 

Warnock, alongside colleague Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA), has been working tirelessly to keep all airports in the Peachtree state safe. In early May 2024, it was announced Georgia would receive $120 million for airport infrastructure upgrades across the state thanks to the Airport Infrastructure Grant program funding, according to WRDW. Osoff said the law “will continue to deliver long-overdue upgrades to Georgia’s infrastructure for years to come.” 

Warnock, who described Georgia as “one of the nation’s most important aviation states,” said he’s excited to see “major funding awards to strengthen our airports and improve the flying experience for consumers and workers alike.”

Local airports are permitted to use the funding for runway upgrades, taxiways, airport safety, airport-transit connections, and roadways. Augusta Regional at Bush Field will receive $2,682,631, and Daniel Field will get $294,000. Smaller airports like Millen received $113,000 worth of funding, followed by Kaolin Field in Sandersville and East Georgia Regional in Swainsboro, receiving $144,000.

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