Atlanta’s Hometown Airline

Following is an article from the March ’11 edition of Delta’s Sky Magazine.  Written by Richard Anderson, the Chief Executive Officer for Delta Air Lines, it talks about Delta’s relationship with the Capital of the South and its headquarter city, Atlanta.  I liked it, so I thought I’d share with you all.

FROM ATLANTA TO THE WORLD FOR 70 YEARS: Building a Global Airline and a Global City

Delta Air Lines’ founder C. E. Woolman reached an agreement with Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield 70 years ago that changed our airline and the City of Atlanta forever.  In exchange for an affordable, long-term lease, Mr. Woolman agreed to move the center of Delta operations from Monroe, Louisiana, to Atlanta.  Delta – then with just 53 employees running 113 seats on eight flights a day – relocated its headquarters to Altanta in 1941.  It was a pivotal moment not just for Delta, but for the promise of U.S. air travel.

The move planted the seed for Atlanta’s rise as the busiest passenger hub and Delta’s eventual transformation into a leading global airline.  Since 1941, metro Atlanta has grown from 800,000 residents to about 6 million today, while at the same time Delta has grown from eight Atlanta fights to more than 1,000 departures headed to approximately 220 points across the globe.

Along the way, Delta and Atlanta together have recorded a lot of firsts:  In the 1950s, Delta pioneered a concept in Atlanta that became known as the “hub and spoke,” which ultimately led to the development of the world’s largest airline hub in our hometown.  In the 1970s, Delta launched the first nonstop transAtlantic flights between Atlanta and London, propelling Atlanta’s vision of becoming a global capital.  And in the 1990s, Delta and Atlanta partnered to win the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, leading us into an era in which we have increased nonstop international service from Atlanta by nearly 500 percent.

But even with all the changes, our alues and many of our partners remain the same.  The Coca-Cola Company, in fact, is Delta’s longest-standing corporate partner, with onboard Coke service dating to the 1940s.  Last month, we saluted this history by christening a Boeing 777-200LR as the “Spirit of Atlanta” with a bottle of our hometown drink.  The christening harkened back to December 1940, when Douglas Aircraft Company christened one of Delta’s early DC-3s as the “City of Atlanta” – also with a bottle of Coke.

The Spirit of Atlanta

The last 70 years prove that, together, the people of Delta, metro Atlanta, the State of Georgia, our customers and our business and charitable partners are a powerful combination.  Our partnership with Atlanta has created something that can’t be replicated – a city that 12 Fortune 500 companies call home and a company, Delta, that has remained Georgia’s largest private employer for a generation.

If your travels take you through Atlanta today, we hope you’ll join us in lifting your glass to our hometown.  We look forward to another 70 years and more in Atlanta.  And we look forward to continuing to bring you a strong global network and premium product that will keep our customers worldwide flying Delta for years to come.

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