Airlines & Aviation
12:54 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Southwest Airlines Offers Atlanta Unprecedented Perk

Since finishing its integration of AirTran Airways, Southwest has aggressively focused on courting Atlanta travelers.
Credit Mark Stevens /

Southwest Airlines, the No. 2 carrier by passenger volume at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is offering the Atlanta market a perk normally reserved for the most elite travelers – a companion pass. 

The company called the promotion "historic." 

According to a Southwest press release, metro Atlanta residents "who fly three qualifying round trips on Southwest Airlines from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport between today and May 17, 2015, will earn a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Companion Pass valid through the end of 2015."

Read more
A Closer Look
7:16 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

GOP Lawmaker Files Bill To End Delta's Tax Break On Fuel

Delta recently reported a $2.8 billion profit for 2014.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

One of the leading Republicans in the Georgia House, Rep. Earl Ehrhart of Powder Springs, has filed a bill to do away with the exemption Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has received on state fuel taxes since 2006.  

At the time lawmakers passed the exemption for Delta, the carrier was trying to emerge from bankruptcy and facing rising fuel costs.

But Ehrhart argues the exemption was not initially intended to be permanent, and Delta recently reported a $2.8 billion profit for 2014.

Read more
5:20 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Vendors Can Finally Return To Turner Field

City Hall official Billy Warren, left, comes out to speak with street vendors as they prepare to enter the Council Chambers to protest the city's policy on selling items on public property on July 1, 2013, in Atlanta. In March, Atlanta police told vendors they were violating an ordinance that prohibits the obstruction of city sidewalks through the sale or display of goods.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Atlanta City Council members voted to pass an ordinance to allow vendors to return to Turner Field

Up to 15 vendors will be allowed to sell their goods again outside the stadium, but only for the next two years.

City councilwoman Mary Norwood says for the last few months, vendors have been showing up at her Public Safety Committee meetings.  

Read more
4:09 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Mercedes-Benz To Relocate Headquarters To Sandy Springs

Mercedes-Benz's corporate headquarters will be located in the city of Sandy Springs.
Credit Axion23 /

Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon says the company's corporate headquarters will be located in the metro Atlanta city of Sandy Springs.

Cannon joined Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and other officials at a ceremony Tuesday at the state Capitol. Mercedes-Benz officials announced in January that the car manufacturer would relocate its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Georgia. But a specific location wasn't clear.

Read more
A Closer Look
2:11 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

How FEMA Uses Waffle House To Measure Disasters

If a Waffle House is closed after a storm, then things are really bad.
Credit Bob B. Brown /

When a big storm or tornado devastates a community, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) usually steps in to help state and local officials. But in recent years, FEMA has been getting some help of its own from an unexpected source – one you see on almost every highway throughout the Southeast: Waffle House.

During a busy lunch hour at a Waffle House in Norcross, Ga., manager William Palmer grills up a Texas Lover’s BLT for one of his customers on the high counter.

Read more
Airlines and Aviation
7:32 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Southwest Unveils 'Heartlanta' Campaign, Fare Sale

Southwest Airlines entered the Atlanta market in February 2012 through its merger with AirTran Airways. Southwest finished integrating AirTran in December and is now focused on gaining domestic market share at Hartsfield-Jackson.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

Three years to the month after Southwest Airlines began service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Dallas-based carrier kicked off a campaign Monday aimed directly at luring local travelers.

Southwest calls it “Heartlanta.”

The kitschy advertisements feature smiling faces, dancing Atlanta-based employees and Southwest planes crossing the screen in dramatic slow motion.

“Hey Atlanta,” a female voice says at the start of the 15-second commercial. “You know how we know this is a real relationship? We’re picking you up at the airport.”

Read more
5:23 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

City Looks To Help Women Start Small Businesses With New Incubator Program

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) CEO Grace Fricks says they will provide loan capital to the 15 women in the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative program.
Credit Tasnim Shamma / WABE

In the Atlanta area, there are more than 200,000 businesses owned by women.

Mayor Kasim Reed says there could be more. So he’s launching a program to help women start their own small businesses. It’s called the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. 

Mayor Reed says when he was running for mayor, he heard from many women entrepreneurs. And he says they had two concerns: 

Read more
6:37 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Philips Arena Among Most Profitable Venues In The World

Sir Paul McCartney's ''Out There'' show was among the best-selling concerts at Philips Arena last year.
Credit Dan Harr / Invision/Associated Press

Philips Arena is the 10th most profitable venue in the world, according to Pollstar Magazine.

The home of the Atlanta Hawks hosted 64 events in 2014, selling nearly 610,000 tickets.

Among the best-selling concerts last year: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney and Fleetwood Mac.

The O2, in London, topped Pollstar's list of arenas, followed by two others in the United Kingdom.

Read more
6:00 am
Sat January 17, 2015

"Selma" Brings Big Dollars To Georgia

The production crew of "Selma" filmed in Georgia for 95 days.
Credit Paramount Pictures

The Oscar-nominated movie, "Selma," picked up a big win for Georgia's economy.  

The film — which traces a pivotal time in the civil rights movement — spent more than three months shooting in Georgia, in places like Marietta Square and the Georgia State Capitol. 

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, production of the film contributed more than $10.3 million to the state's economy. The association said the film's production hired more than 400 local crew members — and paid over $5 million in wages.

Read more
Uber Strike
4:46 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Uber Drivers Shut Down Tonight

Uber drivers in Atlanta are protesting fare cuts from 5 tonight to 3 a.m.
Credit Julio Cortez, File / Associated Press

Their phones are logged out, and the cars are in park. Uber drivers in Atlanta are responding to a 20 percent fare cut by the company.

Prices for a ride dropped last week in nearly 50 cities. Protest organizers want drivers to stop taking clients from 5 tonight until 3 a.m.

Louise Cook has been driving for Uber for nine months. “It was really sort of a crushing blow. We all love our clients. We all want to drive for Uber. But we can’t do it if we don’t make at least some money," said Cook.

Read more
6:00 am
Fri January 16, 2015

States Use Big Tax Breaks To Lure Companies, But What's The Payoff?

Credit Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen /

Georgia’s business and political circles have been buzzing about Mercedes’ planned move since the German car company announced plans to move its U.S. headquarters to the state last week.

The move is such a big get for the state that Gov. Nathan Deal even slipped it into his State of the State address Wednesday.

“The announcement last week that Mercedes-Benz is moving its North American headquarters to Georgia is further evidence that our state will continue to be a leader in job creation,” Deal said, garnering a round of applause from state lawmakers.

Read more
5:43 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Businesses To Georgia Lawmakers: Fix Transportation, And Fix It Soon.

Gridlock is expanding beyond Atlanta, and some businesses are concerned they'll be unable to efficiently transport their products once they arrive at the Port of Savannah.
Credit John Bazemore / Associated Press

Be it spruce, noble fir or pine -- if it’s fake, and it’s a Christmas tree, Caroline Tuan is waiting for it at the Port of Savannah.

"Most of our product is imported," says Tuan, COO of California-based Balsam Brands. The company imports artificial Christmas trees through the Port of Savannah.

“What’s getting increasingly difficult for trucking companies is to stay on schedule," she says. That's because traffic congestion is increasing, causing longer and unpredictable travel times between the Port and Balsam's Atlanta warehouse. 

Read more
A Closer Look
1:31 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

The Mall Of The Future…On Buford Highway?

Another busy Sunday at Plaza Fiesta.
Ryan Nabulsi / WABE

A lot of stories these days tell us the American shopping mall is in trouble. But Buford Highway's Plaza Fiesta might set an example for an entirely new model of mall.

Or maybe it’s not so new after all.

WABE’s Kate Sweeney has the story.

The story of a new kind of shopping mall starts with the story of some of the very oldest shopping malls. These were conceived of by a man with a vision.

Live, Work, Play...1960s-Style

Read more
4:09 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

NCR Corp. To Build New Global Headquarters In Atlanta

NCR Corp. has announced that it will move its headquarters operations from Duluth to Atlanta.
Credit Dayton Daily News, Ron Alvey / Associated Press

Authorities say the technology firm NCR Corp. plans to build a new headquarters in midtown Atlanta. The firm is now based in the northeast Atlanta suburb of Duluth.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Wednesday said that its new global headquarters will bring 3,600 jobs to Atlanta. It is being planned for a site on Spring Street near the Georgia Institute of Technology campus.

Reed said in a statement that NCR also plans to maintain a significant presence in suburban Atlanta.

Read more
3:10 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

MARTA Is Making A Comeback, With Or Without Funding

MARTA is the ninth largest transit agency in the country.
Credit Allison Guillory / WABE

MARTA is no longer a four-letter word in metro Atlanta.

For years, MARTA has been the battered and neglected transportation stepchild in Georgia. But today, it's on the rebound.

The ninth largest transit agency in the country operating in the black. Its ridership is up. Its trains are running more often. It's even improving its bus service ─ cut during the Great Recession and tight budget years.

Read more
11:20 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Coca-Cola Cuts 500 Atlanta Jobs

Coke is planning to lay off up to 1,800 people across the country.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

Coca-Cola is slashing jobs.

According to a written statement from the Atlanta-based beverage giant, Coke will lay off up to 1,800 people across the country.

These cuts are part of Coke’s plan to trim its bottom line by $3 billion before the end of this decade.

Consumption of Coke’s soft drinks has dropped recently in North America and Europe.

The company posted a 14 percent drop in its third quarter profits last year.

The layoffs are scheduled to take place over the next few months.

Read more
5:56 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Georgia Workers, Union Leaders Call For Minimum Wage Increase

Workers gathered together today to support raising the minimum wage to above Georgia's current $7.25 an hour.
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE

A coalition of union leaders, workers and workers' rights advocates rallied to raise the state’s minimum wage Wednesday. They support a proposal that calls for Georgia workers to earn a minimum of $15 per hour.

Right now, employers have to pay Georgia employees at least $7.25 an hour. At a union hall in downtown Atlanta, dozens of people called for more than twice that amount for workers like Rhonda Levitt. She currently works four part-time jobs to help support her grandchildren and her mother. But Levitt says still has trouble paying her bills.

Read more
7:19 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Mercedes Confirms Plans For Metro-Atlanta Relocation

Luxury car company Mercedes-Benz is moving its U.S. headquarters to the metro-Atlanta area.
Credit Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen /

Luxury car company Mercedes-Benz is moving its U.S. headquarters to the metro-Atlanta area.

The company and Gov. Nathan Deal made announcements about the relocation within minutes of each other Tuesday evening after months of speculation that the German brand was eyeing a move to the Southeast.

In a statement released online, Mercedes said the move was “designed to better serve its growing customer base and strengthen the company's position for long-term, sustainable growth.”

Read more
3:51 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Mercedes Eyes Metro Area For New $93M US Headquarters

Paperwork filed with the county lists the location of the possible new Mercedes facility as “TBD – Sandy Springs.”
Credit Peter Kirkeskov Rasmussen /

Luxury car company Mercedes-Benz is asking Fulton County officials to help foot the bill for a new $93 million U.S. headquarters, according to documents filed with the county’s development authority.

Mercedes officials met with the Development Authority of Fulton County early Tuesday to discuss a possible relocation deal for the car company.

Paperwork filed with the county lists the location of the possible new facility as “TBD – Sandy Springs.” Mercedes officials also estimated the new U.S. headquarters would bring 800 jobs to the area.  

Read more
6:00 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Maria Saporta: Finally, A Vision for Underground Atlanta

At long last, a developer has come up with a viable plan for Underground.
Credit Charles Edwards/WABE

At long last, a developer has come up with a viable plan for Underground.

It’s not surprising it had to be someone from out of town who was willing to take the risk to realize Underground’s true potential.

Many Atlantans are jaded when it comes to Underground. They may remember the lively nightspot of their youth, a distant memory of what it is today – a place visited by the confused tourist, the occasional office worker or people who don’t have anything better to do.

Read more
4:42 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

Publix To Offer Same-Sex Marriage Benefits

Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE News

Starting this year, Publix will offer same-sex marriage benefits to its employees. The southern grocery chain, which has a major presence here in Atlanta, will give full spousal benefits to couples who wed in states where gay marriage is legal. WABE’s Michelle Wirth got reaction from local residents.

Most local residents say they’re pleased Publix will offer the benefits. Terrence Cox is a Brookhaven resident.

“I think it’s fantastic.”

Read more
5:52 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Big Layoffs Reportedly Coming At Atlanta-Based Coke

Consumption of coke’s soft drinks has been falling in North America and Europe and flatlining in Latin America.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola is reportedly expected to announce it's cutting between 1,000 and 2,000 positions globally in the next few weeks, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.  

Many of those positions are expected to be in the Atlanta headquarters.

Coke didn’t respond to emails from WABE for confirmation or comment, but earlier this year the company announced plans to expand a five-year cost cutting program to $3 billion from $1 billion in February.

Read more
5:00 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Georgia Department Of Corrections Asks Google To Remove Video

Google didn’t give any specifics about who was in the video or where it was shot. But the Georgia Department of Corrections wanted to remove a video due to its “violent nature.”
Credit Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

Google released its latest report on transparency this month. It says the Georgia Department of Corrections wanted to censor a YouTube video depicting the alleged abuse of inmates.

Google didn’t give any specifics about who was in the video or where it was shot. But the Georgia Department of Corrections wanted to remove it due to its “violent nature.” Ultimately, Google decided the content of the video didn’t violate YouTube’s community guidelines. Attorney Sarah Geraghty with the Southern Center for Human Rights says Google made the right call.

Read more
4:42 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Delta Changes SkyMiles Frequent Flier Program Jan. 1

Delta Air Lines is changing its SkyMiles award travel program effective Jan. 2, 2015.
Credit Ric Feld / Associated Press

Delta Air Lines is changing how it calculates the frequent flyer miles you earn.

An industry analyst says this is good news for a very small segment of people. For the rest of us: not so much.

Starting Jan. 1, Delta will calculate your SkyMiles based on how much you paid for your ticket not how many miles you’re flying.

For most fliers, “It’s not going to be a good scene,” says Charlie Leocha. He heads the advocacy group Travelers United.

Read more
Airlines and Aviation
2:41 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

AirTran's Final Flight

AirTran's final flight was on this Boeing 717, seen here at the gate at Tampa International. The airline was a launch customer for the plane. Now, it will go to a paint shop in Arizona where crews will repaint it with Delta Air Lines' logo and colors before sending it back to Atlanta.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE

(Note: Story updated to include information from final flight, web extra interviews)

Late Sunday night, AirTran Airways flew 115 117 passengers from Atlanta to Tampa. But the 70-minute trip was anything but a typical AirTran flight.

It was the final one.

More than 800 hopeful travelers were on the flight’s standby list. Most of the folks who made it onboard AirTran Flight 1 were current or former AirTran employees, with a handful of journalists and Southwest executives scattered among the seats.

Read more
An Atlanta Institution
6:33 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Stop the Presses: The Colonnade is Now Taking Credit Cards

The Colonnade Restaurant has been in business since 1927. It moved to its current location on Cheshire Bridge Road in 1962.
Credit Jason Parker / WABE

  A sea change of seismic proportions has occurred in midtown ... at least if you are a fan of a certain Atlanta dining institution.

“Hello. How are you?” Everyone who walks in the door of The Colonnade Restaurant in midtown gets a hearty greeting. For many, The Colonnade is kind of like a second home.

Read more
Technology Changes
4:00 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Want to Talk to Coca-Cola? Don't Leave a Message.

Coca-Cola is giving headquarters employees the option of turning off their voice mail.

Atlanta’s Coca-Cola Company is embracing new technology; more accurately, it is phasing out technology that is declining in popularity.

If you call Coca-Cola headquarters in downtown Atlanta, you will likely get this recording: “You have reached the Coca-Cola Company. The individual you are calling is current not available.”

If you want to leave a message, you may be out of luck. The company has given its headquarters employees the option of turning off their voice mail option, and more than 90% took them up on the offer.

Read more
9:45 am
Mon December 22, 2014

UPS Prepared for Busiest Day of the Year

Monday is UPS' busiest day of the year.
Credit David Goldman / AP

The North Pole isn’t the only spot where people are working hard getting packages ready for Christmas.  

This is the busiest day of the year for the United Parcel Service.

The Atlanta-based company will be delivering about 34 million packages today.

Officials say a lot of steps were taken to make the process move as smoothly as possible.

“We work very closely with all of our large shippers this year on their forecasting, so that we could prepare.  We’ve also increased the capacity of our network by five percent,” says UPS spokesman Andy McGowan.

Read more
Black Santa
3:42 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Black Santas In High Demand For The Holidays

Skip Osborne is Kente Claus, he's been working at the West End Mall for 12 years.
Credit Candace Wheeler / WABE

It's 7 p.m. on a weeknight and Juanita Mickens is at the mall.

She’s not here shopping for last minute gifts - she’s looking for Santa Claus.

“I was looking for an African-American Santa Claus for my African-American grandson,” says Mickens when I talk to her at South Dekalb Mall.

Mickens couldn’t find many African-American Santas for her 7-month old grandson’s holiday pictures.

“Well actually, I went to Southlake, Northlake – they told me to come to South Dekalb Mall, so I’m here,” says Mickens.

Read more
11:18 am
Thu December 18, 2014

More Jobs In Georgia, According To State Labor Officials

Trade, transportation and warehousing added 16,000 jobs, largely due to holiday hiring.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was for November was 7.2 percent, according to state's Labor Department.

  That’s down nearly half a point from November 2013, when it was 7.6 percent.

"In addition to strong job growth that has made Georgia a leading state in job creation for several months, we saw our total number of initial claims for unemployment insurance in November fall to the lowest point in more than 14 years," said Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

Read more