Now that the vote is over and the contract is signed Ben Zandi, CEO of Fraport-USA is ready to deliver and elevate Nashville to heights unimaginable.  The airport, affectionately known as BNA is in line for an internal facelift that will position it as the “Crown Jewel of Airports” via a major construction overhaul of Terminals A, B and C.  From state-of-the art amenities, to a recording studio, to recording facilities, a radio station, a sound theater, an open performance stage and a bowling alley, Mr. Zandi and his experienced team will make traveling through the Nashville airport a one-of-a-kind experience for the family, the kids and also the family pets.  As a matter of fact, mothers that want to breastfeed and those who want to learn how to play the guitar or piano will find something appealing at the airport as well.

The first industry day event was a huge success as numerous qualified local minority owned companies attended that were ready to do authentic business.  According to Mr. Zandi, “The first industry day exceeded my expectations and was standing room only.”  The majority of Fraport-USA’s focus is to ensure that 40% of the vendors in the airport are minority.  Priority number two is to ensure that there is 90% local participation at the Nashville airport.  Industry day is an opportunity to help business obtain airport certification and become prepared to do business with the airport.

The entire construction phase will be completed around 2023.  As the renovations happen, the new vendors and participants will be injected into the airport model as the development occurs.  The airport will be consistent in service and appearance through all terminals including D which begins construction in the next two years and the Grand Hall will have construction completed in 2023.  In 2019, Fraport-USA will be ready to break ground and begin their two year construction overhaul to bring their three terminals up-to-par from the ceiling to the floor and everything in between.

Phase one is to determine the lease plan for the terminals, and accompany and support existing businesses via many methods such as kiosks as they keep travel for passengers friendly.  There will not be any compromise to the travelers as they renovate and bring in retail, concessions, entertainment and leisure accommodations.

Slim and Husky’s, Prince’s Hot Chicken, Southern Acme and Biscuit Love are among the many local favorites that will now have a strong presence in the Nashville airport.  The lease plan is expected to be close to finalization around February 2019.  The small vendors at kiosk levels will also be able to participate with a smaller investment and financial commitment.  The passenger experience and category mix of the correctly selected business is primary focus.  The Tennessee Tribune will also have a historical presence in the newly designed airport.  They will stand out with a unique 1,000 square feet space that reflects the culture of Nashville through literature, apparel, cuisine, entertainment and many wares from local minority artisans.

Launchpad, Fraport-USA’s bootstrap program will also be available to assist qualified businesses with their concept, business development and access to funding in order to participate.  The diversity of the minority footprint will run the full gamut in the newly renovated airport from Arabic, to African American, to Hispanic/Latino business owners and more.  The process for registration is very user friendly and assistance is available for interested businesses to obtain airport certification.  As long as a business has applied for certification, they will be able to have a conversation with Fraport-USA for consideration.

According to Mr. Zandi, “He doesn’t foresee anyone getting frustrated and bogged down with paperwork and red tape.”  At the industry day event, businesses were interviewed for five hours with follow-up through phone calls and emails immediately after.  He advises, “All businesses should come to the industry day event and meet face-to-face.”  There is an opportunity for everyone to be successful.  Mr. Zandi says, “Nashville needs to be prepared to have one of the best airports, if not the best airport in North America that will reflect the true culture and DNA of the city for years to come.”  The next industry day event will be held on Wednesday October 17th, 2018 from 9:00am to 12:00pm at the Nashville Airport Marriott.