Airport GM faces members of city council for the first time

Source: WGCL

In the City of Atlanta's bid to get Amazon to move into the region, Hartsfield-Jackson International may be the biggest incentive on the table.

The world's busiest airport would seem like a perfect fit for one of the world's biggest distributors. But that power failure back in December that stranded tens of thousands of people was a global embarrassment.

It wasn't the Zombie Apocalypse but when the lights went out at the airport it could've been a scene straight out of a low budget horror movie. Today the last thing the city wants is a sequel. Especially during its high stakes courtship with Amazon.

"Airport officials had plans in place for a full scale evacuation if it was needed we had buses on standby to take passengers to the nearby Georgia international convention center and an overflow center at the world congress center with MARTA rail access."

But airport GM Roosevelt Council told city officials that wasn't a good idea and opted instead to deal with the crisis in other ways.

"One of the first things we actually did was we deployed hundreds of additional police officers to ensure first of all that this was just a fire and not an attack of some other foreign nature and so with that we were able to ensure that everybody that we had within the confines of the airport was protected and were safe."

While hundreds of flights were cancelled and thousands of passengers were stranded, the council made it clear the airport was not unprepared.

"We have about 33 emergency plans that cover a vast amount of different kinds of emergencies from crashes to excursions to fires and even to terrorist attacks"

But the crisis playbook didn't include a chapter on the chaos from the fire that led to the black out. All sides agree that communication will have to be improved even if it means putting old-school bullhorns to use.

"What I saw on video via social media and tv which is people not having any direction at all it could be calming just to hear specific effective voices."

The GM says up until that fateful day in December, the airport's back-up systems worked quote "flawlessly" for 50-years. Now they're going to need redundant redundancies and back-ups to the back-ups.

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