News and notes from Hartsfield-Jackson, the world's busiest airport

Atlanta airport, Delta in final stages of lease negotiations

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport general manager Miguel Southwell said the airport is close to completing a new lease deal with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and other carriers.

The two sides have been in negotiations for months and had hoped to reach a deal by the end of 2015. However, "it went a little beyond that," Southwell said.

"The attorneys are currently drafting" the deal, he said. Southwell said he expects the agreement to be written in the next 30 to 60 days.

The deal is expected to be a 20-year lease that keeps Hartsfield-Jackson's lease rates among the lowest in the country and keeps Delta's headquarters in Atlanta.

Airlines "want to make sure we have competitive rates," Southwell said. "We compete with other airports, whether it's Houston or Miami or New York."

At the same time, a lease also influences the competitive landscape of an airport by outlining terms that affect how new airlines could access gates.

And Hartsfield-Jackson is also preparing for a massive round of spending on a new $6 billion master plan, including the modernization of the domestic terminal and concourses, replacing and expanding parking garages and eventually building a sixth runway.

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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.