Delta Airlines Plane
By Chinedu Eze
US major carrier, Delta Air Lines, is putting finishing touches to its ultramodern terminal, known as Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal at the cost of over $1.4 billion.
The terminal project was begun 2008 and is expected to be officially opened May 16, with the second tallest control tower in the world and most modern airport facilities in the West.
The terminal stands uniquely with its sweeping roofline, gentle metallic curves and glass façade and is expected to welcome millions of world travelers for decades to come.
The terminal is the 5th concourse of the Atlanta international airport, which is the busiest airport in the United States of America with over 1000 daily departures to 215 destinations.
The airport is the operating hub of Delta Air Lines that operates into Lagos and Abuja and has a record of 4, 464 daily flights from different airports in the world, 80, 000 employees, annual passengers of over 160 million and over 1400 aircraft.
The mega carrier has successful code share agreement with Air Nigeria, which the senior vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Perry Cantarutti said is very successful as it has boosted the US based airline traffic in West Africa.
Cantarutti also said that Delta is committing $2 billion to invest in passengers comfort in its airlines, including providing flat beds in the business cabin of its aircraft that operates into Nigeria and other destinations.
He added that the airline has big plan for the African market and Nigeria in particular as it has started introducing new incentives to sustain its customers in the region, especially now competition has become rife.
Conducting journalists round the terminal, the Spokesman, Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr. International Terminal, Atlanta, Mr. Snedeker Albert said the airline sourced funds for the building of the project from government bonds, direct bank loans and partnership.
According to Albert, the project includes 1.2 million square feet international terminal, 12-gate international Concourse F connected to Concourse E through train and connecting tunnel, two new parking structures providing more than 3, 700 spaces for vehicles.
“The combination of the new and existing facilities creates a 40-gate international travel gateway with a customer experience that will mirror or exceed the current high Atlanta standards. The usage of the terminal will also eliminate the baggage recheck process for Atlanta-bound international passengers.
“Besides, international customers checking-in at the new facility will experience efficient lobby flow, a dedicated security checkpoint and access to a new Sky Club ticket counters, ticketing kiosks, Delta and OAL’s 23 positions among many other facilities.”
On completion, he said the facilities would be used by all the Skyteam partners like Lufthansa, British Airways and Air South Canada among others, adding that the terminal could handle tens of thousands of passengers daily.
Also, the Regional Director, Corporate Communications, Delta Air Lines, Olivia Cullis explained that since the airline commenced flight operations to Nigeria about five years ago, it has recorded steady growth, in spite of competition.
She said that its partnership with Air Nigeria has helped Delta to grow in the continent with the sales of its ticket on flight between Accra and Abuja by the airline.
“Air Nigeria is a fantastic airline, which has been developing with good safety records and good reputation in Africa especially with affiliation to many international safety aviation organizations. The airline is one of the best three on the continent of Africa and I’m sure, its successes would increase in the next couple of years.”