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

Atlanta City Council approves Delta lease

The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement between Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Delta Air Lines.

The deal -- the longest-term lease struck between Hartsfield-Jackson and Delta since 1980 -- keeps the per-passenger costs for Delta to operate at the world's busiest airport and its largest hub roughly flat over the lease's 20-year term. The agreement also includes an option for a 10-year extension.

Key provisions in the deal are a covenant to keep Delta's headquarters in Atlanta and another covenant in which the city pledges not to operate any other commercial airport other than Hartsfield-Jackson. The lease agreement solidifies for decades the city's position against the idea of a second commercial airport in Atlanta.

The Atlanta City Council voted 15-0 on Wednesday to approve the lease with Delta. Council members raised few questions about the deal during a committee work session and meeting on the agreement before it was swiftly approved by the full council.

Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Miguel Southwell said the agreement came after a "year of very intense negotiations." He said he was following Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's priority of ensuring the airport remains financially viable.

Reed is scheduled to sign the deal Wednesday afternoon.

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About the Author

Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.