Speaking at tonight’s Welcome Reception, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s aviation general manager, Miguel Southwell, praised the role played by airport staff in making his gateway such a success and promised an exciting few days ahead at the conference.
His prediction about the next few days is based on the fact that the event – jointly hosted by the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) – has attracted more than 75 speakers, 50 sponsors, 40 exhibitors and a host of airport leaders.
“This conference is really about sharing best practices and sharing ideas so that we can learn from each other,” said Southwell.
Both Joe Folz, chairman of the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance and vice president, general counsel and secretary of Porsche Cars North America, and Atlanta Regional Commission executive director, Douglas Hooker, noted that calloboration between the region's different stakeholders would prove vital to the future success of the airport and surrounding regions.
Folz remarked: "The Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance is an organisation that grew out of the desire to create a thriving community/communities with the airport at its centre.
"Too often, in the United States at least, airports have been viewed as places to be avoided if at all possible and somewehere to get into and out of as quick as humany possible. We see things somewhat differently and here in Atlanta we are blessed to have the world's biggest and best managed airports just a 12 minute drive from the centre of one of the most incredible cities in the world."
Airport World is a media partner for the event, which will explore the impact that airports have on social and economic development, job creation and regional growth.
It is the first time SMART Airports has been held in the US.
More updates to follow.