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Atlanta – sustainability efforts for the city with the busiest airport in the world

December 4, 2019
Atlanta – sustainability efforts for the city with the busiest airport in the world

Remaining in pole position, with an increase of 3.3 per cent on 2017, Atlanta reigns supreme on passenger numbers. Retaining the title since 1997, it looks like Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is going nowhere for now. There were a total of 107,394,029 passengers at ATL in 2018.


Atlanta continues to dominate the passenger market because of its location as a major connecting hub and port of entry into North America. It’s within a two-hour flight of 80% of the United States population of more than 300 million people.


Delta, headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the world’s largest airlines, with close to 180 million passengers a year. Hartsfield-Jackson is the carrier’s (and the world’s) biggest hub. More than 1,000 Delta flights, to 225 cities, leave ATL every day. More than 75 percent of Atlanta’s passengers are on Delta flights.


But Atlanta, the city, has advantages other than Delta that make it a good place to fly into and out of, not to mention a smart spot for airlines to do business. The weather is generally good — meaning fewer delays and cancelled flights — and there is little competition for the airspace around Hartsfield-Jackson. Unlike places like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and many others, in Atlanta, there’s not another big airport within 150 miles.


With the relative certainty that flights will get in and out with little problem — and the ability to offer more flights because of that certainty — means that Atlanta is an attractive place for low-cost airlines. Frontier, Southwest and Spirit are big players at the Atlanta airport, too.


The sheer size of Atlanta’s airport is stunning: it employs more than 63,000 people, covers more than 47,000 acres, has more than 30,000 parking spots, and features 263 concessions, 193 gates (and with more coming) on seven concourses and five runways.


The airport’s sustainability plan from 2011 calls for a 20% reduction in emissions, 20% reductions in water and energy intensity, and a 90% reduction in waste by 2020. “We are currently reviewing that because 2020 is right around the corner,” says Charles Marshall, airport engineering manager for Hartsfield-Jackson. Another reason to re-assess: the City of Atlanta, which owns the airport, has since passed sustainability-related legislation with ambitious targets.


Do you represent or are directly or indirectly linked to this reality of Atlanta’s airport? What solutions do you adopt, what actions to do implement, and what role can you play to ensure the sustainability of ATL and all its stakeholders? Join us in Atlanta in early 2020 for sustainability discussions regarding Atlanta.


CSE’s Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Program, Advanced Edition 2020, takes over Atlanta March 9-10, 2020 to help sustainability professionals rise to any occasion. This challenging two-day training offered by Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) aims to give you all the latest tools and resources required to implement or upscale existing sustainability initiatives taking place in your organization.

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