ATL seeks agreement for airport chaplaincy organization

How do city councils, spiritual care, and the FAA intersect? This article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows how:

At no cost, Interfaith Airport Chaplaincy staff and volunteers run three interfaith chapels at the world’s busiest airport: one on an upper level of the domestic terminal atrium, one on Concourse E, and one on Concourse F. Airport chaplains provide counseling, military honor guards and assistance to travelers.ADVERTISING

Since the first airport chapel was built in 1981, there have been various agreements, including a commercial lease, occupancy permits “and most recently no agreement at all,” according to documents submitted to the City Council for approval of the five-year memorandum of understanding.

The FAA last year began a revenue diversion investigation of Hartsfield-Jackson on another matter — legal fees associated with a federal corruption investigation at Atlanta City Hall. The investigation is ongoing, the FAA says.

But before that investigation began, the city’s counsel for aviation in 2015 determined that community service organizations such as the airport chaplaincy, the USO, Travelers Aid, HOPE Atlanta and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau “could all be considered revenue diversion under (FAA) guidance if the city provided space to them below market rate,” according to City Council documents.

At present, it seems the chaplaincy’s status is a matter of assigning the correct status:

“Where the amount of the contribution such as free rent is minimal and in writing, the FAA would not question the benefit of free rent” if there is a connection with the airport, according to the agency.

The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab will keep readers informed of the ATL chaplaincy agreement as it develops.