On Thursday, February 2, 2023, I had the honor and pleasure of witnessing the 3rd signing of a Sister Airport Cooperation Agreement between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and an African nation. The first signing was with the Ivory Coast and the second Cooperation Agreement was with the Republic of Liberia. I am proud to see that Nigeria is now a Sister with ATL, states Cynthia L. Blandford, Publisher, and CFO of iF Magazine in Atlanta.
Mr. Balram “B” Bheodari General Manager Hartfield Jackson Airport stated “with the signing of this Sister Airport Cooperation Agreement between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, we are forging what we all hope will be an enduring partnership – one built on collaboration and cooperation; the open exchange of ideas and best practices; and the advancement of economic growth and development. Additionally, our hope is that this agreement will help establish bonds of friendship and collaboration to promote economic growth and development, as well as international cooperation and understanding, and maximize these relationships for the mutual growth and benefit of our airports.”
“B” went on to say “thanks to the signing of this agreement, that they are optimistic that both Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Hartsfield-Jackson will experience an economic windfall. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport prides itself on being the world’s busiest and most efficient passenger airport. “B” also noted that ATL is also immensely proud of being the economic engine not only for metro Atlanta area but for the entire region as we generate a state economic impact of $66 billion each year and over 383,000 direct and indirect jobs. This agreement will help further that mission. “B” went on to thank the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria for their partnership.
Mr. Bishop Adejube, CEO International Trade Exchange/Quick Built Policy & Innovation Management Hub Project Business Development Consultant to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), was one of the organizers of the event.
Dr. Seinde Fadeni, Board Chairman Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and Mrs. Bridget Gold Legal Adviser (FAAN), brought remarks thanking the Mayor of Atlanta Mr. Andre Dickens, Mr. Balram “B” Bheodari, General Manager Hartfield Jackson Airport & the Management Team of the Atlanta Airport, Ms. Vanessa Ibarra Executive Director International & Immigrant Affairs, Atlanta Mayor’s Office, Capt Rabiu Yududu Managing Director Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Alh. Sadik Rafindadi Director Business Development, (FAAN) Mr. Lawal (FAAN), Ms. Matilda Arhin (Int’l Consultant), Mr. Ayo Akinrimade (Project Consultant), Mr. Dayo Alao CEO Vista Resources, Senator Donzella James, State Representative Segun Adeyina, Representative El-Madhi Holly and Representative Gabe Okoye, Ms. Cynthia Blandford Honorary Consul for Liberia, and Ms. Marva Jacobs Honorary Consul for Guyana, and many others too who help to make this occasion possible.
According to “B”, there are more than 30,000 travelers annually between Atlanta and Nigeria, an increase of 3% annually since 2017. In 2021, over 742,000 kilograms of cargo traveled between Atlanta and Nigeria, representing an 11% increase year over year since 2017. Also in 2021, more than $58.3 million was generated between Atlanta and Nigeria, a 22% increase per year since 2017.
The Nigerian delegation went on to visit Emory University to discuss the future of the Sister Airport agreement signed and how it will spurn trade, cultural, and logistic benefits between the City of Atlanta and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). The delegation also had the honor and privilege to visit with Georgia State Senator Donzella James and State Representative Segun Adeyina at the Georgia State Capitol.