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Celebrating history

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Terry Robinson, a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines, Inc., was

greeting fellow employees with a bright smile as they entered Delta's

Technical Operations Center, near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta

International Airport.

Robinson said he has been with the company for 13 years, and has

enjoyed every minute while employed with the airline.

"Today is a celebration," said Robinson. "It's the beginning of a new

era for us."

More than 300 Delta employees recently filled the airline's Technical

Operations Center, in Atlanta, to celebrate the airline's 70th

anniversary at its Atlanta headquarters.

The festivities were celebrated on Jan. 21, and included the

christening of a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, as the "Spirit of Atlanta."

A video projected onto the side of the aircraft showed Delta through

the years, with a final image of a large Coca-Cola bottle pouring

cola over the Spirit of Atlanta wording.

"The success of Delta and the City of Atlanta have been intertwined

for seven decades, and it's hard to argue with the results," said

Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines. "Atlanta has grown into a

major international city while Delta built the world's largest hub at

the city's airport [Hartsfield-Jackson]. Central to this success has

been the historic partnership between Delta, the City of Atlanta, the

state of Georgia and our thousands of Atlanta-based employees and

customers."

Airline employees and a variety of officials, including Anderson,

Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent, Georgia Gov. Nathan

Deal, and U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Johnny Isakson (R-

Ga.) spoke during the 70th anniversary event.

Officials said Delta is among the largest airlines in the world, but

in 1941, during the time it moved its headquarters from Monroe, La.,

to Atlanta, it was a small air carrier with a focus on serving the

Southeast. Throughout the following decades, the airline built the

world's largest connecting hub in Atlanta, and for more than 20 years

it has remained Georgia's largest private employer and a major

economic force in the region, airline officials said.

"Delta is truly an economic force for Georgia," said Deal. "It is our

biggest employer and its presence here plays a key role in helping us

attract new investment and jobs. I look forward to partnering with

Delta as it sets out on the next 70 years."

Airline officials explained that Delta has 25,000 employees based in

Atlanta, and is estimated to pump more than $25 billion into the

local economy. The airline is also a large contributor to various key

community organizations in Atlanta, including the Grady Health

Foundation, the Woodruff Arts Center and AID Atlanta, Inc.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed made an appearance on screen during the

celebration, because of a meeting with President Barack Obama in

Washington, D.C.

"The strong relationships among companies such as Delta, state and

local elected officials and civic organizations are what make Atlanta

not only a global, dynamic city, but a great place to live and do

business," said Reed.

Chambliss said Delta has made tremendous progress since its

beginnings in Monroe. The airline has established itself as an

economic engine for Georgia and the Southeast, he explained.

"For seven decades, Delta has thrived, employing thousands of

Georgians and becoming an integral part of our communities," said

Chambliss.

Isakson said since Delta has been in Atlanta, it has brought jobs,

businesses and abundant opportunities to Georgia, by linking it to

cities across the nation and the globe.

The event also honored three individuals, two of which are Delta

employees.

Lynda Lloyd, a flight attendant for Delta, was honored for her

longevity with the company.

According to Delta CEO Anderson, she has worked for the airline since

1964.

"As a longtime Atlanta resident it's been so exciting to be part of

this airline, which is such a positive force for the community," said

Lloyd. "It was the very best decision of my life, to come to Atlanta,

remain here and be a Delta flight attendant. I am still enjoying the

very best job in the world. It always makes me proud when I tell

people I work for Delta."

Cheryll Davis, who works in global sales and distribution for Delta,

was honored for being the company's most active community volunteer

in Atlanta.

Davis has dedicated thousands of hours to charities, throughout her

20-year career with the airline, explained officials.

"Delta has always encouraged its employees to become involved in our

communities, and service is a big part of being a member of the Delta

family," said Davis. "As an Atlanta resident, it's great that Delta

is so supportive of our community, and it's one of the benefits of

being Delta's hometown."

Ed Robinette was recognized as the airline's most frequent flier,

having flown nearly 7 million miles, using Delta, over the past 30

years, according to officials. He has been a member of the Delta

SkyMiles frequent flier program since 1981.

"Two years ago, I moved my business to Atlanta because of the great

flights and service offered by Delta, and I'm not the only one. We

have so many businesses based in Atlanta solely because of Delta,"

said Robinette.

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On the net:

Delta Air Lines: www.delta.com