Delta Serves as Hometown Hero, Funds MLK National Park Reopening

Jan 18, 2019

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As the US federal government shutdown extends into day 28, Delta is stepping up to be a hometown hero in Atlanta. Thanks to a grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park will reopen to visitors beginning Saturday through early February.

This grant will reopen the park just ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday on Monday and follows after the 90th anniversary of MLK’s birth. However, the 35-acre National Historical Park in the heart of Atlanta won’t just open for MLK weekend. The grant is enough to fund the park’s operations through Feb. 3 to ensure that it’s open through the Super Bowl being held in Atlanta that Sunday.

To operate for this 16-day period — including clean up, administration, maintenance and operating costs of employees — the park required a $83,500 grant from the foundation to cover the difference between fees collected and expenses expected.

The Delta Air Lines Foundation reports having awarded more than $130 million in grants to nonprofit organizations since 2016. This funding comes from Delta, which strives to donate 1% of annual net profits to its communities through this foundation.

This grant comes at a time as Delta is especially feeling the sting of the shutdown. TSA security wait times have topped two hours at its home hub in Atlanta (ATL) due to TSA officer sickouts. And Delta’s introduction of its newest aircraft type, the A220, is “likely” to be delayed due to the shutdown.

Also, the airline has reported losing $25 million per month in revenue due to reduced travel by government employees and contractors. But, Delta reported more than $5.1 billion in pre-tax profit for 2018 and remains very profitable through the shutdown.

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This story has been edited to update the figures relative to donations made by Delta Air Lines.

Featured image by Jeff Greenberg / Getty Images

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