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City of Atlanta to Fund $33 Million Bill for New Delta Sky Club

City of Atlanta to Fund $33 Million Bill for New Delta Sky Club
Joe Cortez

Delta Air Lines flyers will get a brand-new Sky Club location at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, paid for by city taxpayers. The city council approved a resolution to reimburse the airline for $33.1 million in construction costs, at a time when the airline is not entirely popular with politicians.

Delta Air Lines flyers traveling through Atlanta will get a new Sky Club location, courtesy of the city’s tax base. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the Atlanta City Council approved a plan to reimburse the airline for the new lounge at the cost of $33.1 million.

New Concourse D Sky Club Features 20,000 Square Feet of Space, Replacing Two Older Lounges

The brand-new space will be located in Concourse D of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). It will replace two older lounges in the concourse, which will be returned to the airport to be repurposed.

Under the plan, the city will reimburse Delta for $33.1 million of construction expenses, which will include adding a third floor to the concourse. While the city will pay for materials and labor, Delta will be responsible for designing the space and financing the interior finishing. Once the lounge is complete, Delta will lease the space from the airport.

Once it is open to the public, it will become one of six Sky Club lounges available at Delta’s home town airport. Access to the space is available to certain international flyers, SkyMiles Diamond Medallion elite flyers, Sky Club members and those who have access through credit cards.

Construction Plans Come as Delta Falls Out of Favor With Politicians

The city-approved plan comes as Delta has widely fallen out of favor with Georgia’s Republican-controlled state government. After airline chief executive Ed Bastian changed direction on the state’s controversial Senate Bill 202, members of Georgia’s House of Representatives voted to strip Delta of a jet fuel tax credit. It failed to move forward, as the state Senate adjourned before it could be considered.

According to the Journal-Constitution, the new lounge was part of a 20-year lease between the city and Delta made in 2016 – well before the voting bill was signed into law. Because it was a pre-approved construction project, no other government votes will be required.

View Comments (23)


  1. cmd320

    April 21, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    This seems like clickbait political garbage.

    The only line worth reading in this whole write up is the following, “ Once the lounge is complete, Delta will lease the space from the airport.”

    That’s all you need to know. Corrupt city uses taxpayer money to build a Delta lounge, in turn Delta pays the city back for leasing the lounge that was built for them in the first place. Welcome to local politics, it’s all about paying someone off to ensure reelection, in fact, that’s essentially all politics in the US.

  2. fotographer

    April 22, 2021 at 6:17 am

    maybe DL promised the politicians Diamond membership for life?

  3. edgewood49

    April 22, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    I am so happy not to be living in Atlanta although I had one thought of Buckhead, back to subject Delta is just sucking cash from the State and City of Atlanta, no fuel tax and this happy not to be a taxpayer in Atlanta Georgia!

  4. jamesteroh

    April 22, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    Didn’t Atlanta pay for the new skyclub in B as well?

  5. Beckles

    April 23, 2021 at 5:57 am

    To say the ‘City of Atlanta’ paid for the lounge is misleading at best, the Airport is paying for the lounge, the Airport is an Enterprise Fund of the City that is not supported by General Fund revenues (i.e., property taxes, sales taxes, and other revenues from City of Atlanta taxpayers). The Airport is a business-type activity that is owned by the City but is completely self-sufficient. The Airport is paying for the club and then leasing it to a tenant.

    The claim in this article that ‘Delta Air Lines flyers traveling through Atlanta will get a new Sky Club location, courtesy of the city’s tax base.’ is completely inaccurate in my opinion.

  6. arcticflier

    April 23, 2021 at 10:46 am

    “Once it is open to the public, it will become one of six Sky Club lounges available at Delta’s home town airport.”

    Although the “Public” is paying for the new Sky Club, I was not aware the “Public” was allowed to enjoy it.

    Should this have read, “Once it is open to the Delta SkyClub Dues Paying Members,…”?

  7. gmt4

    April 23, 2021 at 10:48 am

    In a time when tax receipts are at a low due to the pandemic this doesn’t seem like a very good use of existing revenue.

  8. arcticflier

    April 23, 2021 at 10:48 am

    My short term memory is pretty lousy but wasn’t it just a week ago that Delta was threatening to move operations out of this State for some legislation about requiring an ID to vote?

  9. appletreasures

    April 23, 2021 at 10:51 am

    Just say NO!

  10. dane1

    April 23, 2021 at 10:52 am

    cmd320, so it’s essentially a low interest loan to Delta that they pay back vs. a straight up gift as the headline suggests. That seems to be a far better deal for the city, and is exactly what economic development offices are supposed to do. Not clear to me how this is “corrupt”. Cities need to do this all the time to bring in new businesses and retain the ones they have. I live in a different city but that is a key part of the job for elected leaders – no tax base, no economy = you have failed your constituents.

  11. dorn

    April 23, 2021 at 10:59 am

    This isn’t any kind of shady thing. Yes, the city pays to renovate the space, but then Delta is going to pay the city for 20 years to lease the space, and Delta is going to return two other space they won’t need any more, so the city can then lease those spaces to other tenants. And Delta is paying their own cost of furnishing. It’s pretty typical for a commercial landlord to give a tenant for new space a renovation budget to get it ready. Yes, $33M is quite a lot, but (a) airport construction ain’t cheap, and (b) I expect the rent Delta pays over 20 years will make up a lot of that, if not actually turn a profit for the city, and (c) the city makes a shit-ton of money off the sales tax and leases and such from the airport.

  12. toxman

    April 23, 2021 at 11:03 am

    It’s amazing how some people can get their knickers in such a twist based on incomplete information. What is the value of the lease? And how much money will be made from the space that Delta will be returning to the airport? In other words, we don’t actually know how much, if anything, this will ultimately cost the taxpayer.

  13. StrongEagle

    April 23, 2021 at 11:06 am

    It really depends on the terms of the leaseback arrangement. If the city is recouping its funds at a rate similar to a mortgage, plus getting something comparable in the way of a square foot lease that every other lessor would pay at the airport, then there’s not really a problem. Leasebacks can be relatively common. But, if the city is on the short end of the fiduciary stick, then something stinks… and it aint the 3 day old sushi in the lounge refrigerator.

  14. jjbiv

    April 23, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Very misleading title. Have you no shame FlyerTalk? The city is likely using airport revenue to finance the Canon. construction, not local tax dollars. Delta is then going to lease (aka pay for the use of) the facility, you know like how they pay for their use of the rest of the airport. C’mon.

  15. BC Shelby

    April 23, 2021 at 11:35 am

    …bad enough local taxpayers often end up footing much of the cost for new sports venues, now add exclusive airline clubs.

  16. deadmoneywalking

    April 23, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    Gee I wonder why corporations feel they can safely insult the people of their host state?

  17. AAchem!

    April 23, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    If the city’s outlay meets obligations of an existing lease agreement, any duly informed judgement about the topic requires knowledge of the full lease agreement’s finances. In the absence of such context, people will make even more bogus judgements/comments about the city’s funding than they would otherwise! Presenting only a portion of the story with a provocative title seems rather clickbait-y.

  18. thooks30

    April 23, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    This is click bait. I believe this was already approved when Delta and Atlanta agreed to their $6 billion expansion and 20 year lease back in 2016.

    There’s nothing corrupt about it. It feels like bad optics hearing that tax dollars pay for it. I’d imagine like many other cities and business there is a debt recovery plan that will offset the tax dollars used and essentially redistribute funds.

    The city has received more than $587 million in revenue from the airport in 2020. Regardless of who pays for the build it’s an asset that will bring in revenue for years to come.

  19. AsiaTravel2019

    April 24, 2021 at 3:44 am

    This explains why Delta has gone Woke…they are sucking up to local politicians. It’s too bad. It was a great airline!

  20. Prof_Dr_G

    April 24, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Atlanta government is corrupt. There is nothing else to say.

  21. ASEFlyer

    April 24, 2021 at 11:45 am

    this is a pretty typical commercial real estate transaction. It’s called build-to-suit. The city is adding leasable squarefeet to the airport. Don’t see the big deal? $33MM seems cheap for an airport construction project that probably requires Davis-Bacon etc. Garbage article.

  22. Dr.Ells

    April 26, 2021 at 12:20 am

    The old boy network of the Old South is still playing ball, I see, Miss Scarlet and Master Rhett.
    Systemic fascism, but do I mean something else?
    Nothing like one dirty hand licking another.
    I’ll stay in CO/UA country, thank you very little.

  23. aethelwulf

    April 28, 2021 at 10:26 am

    Ridiculous. Taxpayers on the hook paying for a lounge only the 1% can use. What next, taxpayer money pays to build an exclusive golf club, one of those with the unwritten rule “we only accept Whites and non-Jewish”?

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