Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is located in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area and is the busiest airport (in terms of passengers enplaned and deplaned) in the world, with Chicago’s O’Hare as a rival.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport accommodated 980,197 takeoffs and landings in 2005, and handled 88.4 million passengers according to projections. Many of these flights are domestic flights from within the United States where Atlanta serves as a major transfer point for flights to and from smaller East Coast cities. As such, it has been the subject of an old joke stating that it doesn’t matter where one will go in the afterlife; one will connect through Atlanta to get there.
As an international gateway to the United States Hartsfield-Jackson ranks seventh; JFK International in New York City is first.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is located partly within the southern city limits of Atlanta and is adjacent to the city of College Park, Georgia which is south of the city limits of Atlanta. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the primary hub of Delta Airlines and AirTran Airways. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport t is located within Fulton and Clayton Counties.
Hartsfield-Jackson had its beginnings with a five-year, rent free lease on 287 acres that had been the home of an abandoned auto racetrack. The lease was signed on April 16, 1925 by Mayor Walter Sims, who committed the city to develop it into an airfield. As part of the agreement, the property was renamed Candler Field after its former owner, Coca Cola tycoon and former Atlanta mayor Asa Candler.
Candler Field’s first control tower was opened March 1939 and in October 1940 the U.S. government declared it an air base. During WWII, the airport doubled in size and set a record of 1,700 takeoffs and landings in a single day, making Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport the nation’s busiest airport in terms of flight operation.
In 1946 Candler Field was renamed Atlanta Municipal Airport. In 1948, more than one million passengers passed through a war surplus hangar that served as a terminal building.
On May 3, 1961, the new $21 million terminal opened, the largest in the country, being able to accommodate over six million travelers a year. The new airport was stretched past its capacity the very first year when nine and half million people passed though. In 1967, the city of Atlanta and the airlines began to work on a master plan for future development of Atlanta Municipal Airport.
Construction was begun on the present midfield terminal in January 1977 under the administration of Mayor Maynard Jackson. It was the largest construction project in the South costing $500 million. Named for former Atlanta Mayor William Barry Hartsfield, who did much to promote air travel, William B. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport opened on September 21, 1980 on-time and under budget. It was designed to accommodate up to 55 million passengers per year and covered 2.5 million square feet (230,000m²). In December 1984 a 9000-foot (3km) fourth parallel runway was completed, and another runway was extended to 11,889 feet (3.6km) the following year.
In 2003, Atlanta’s city council voted on October 20 to change the name from Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport to the current Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in honor of former mayor Maynard Jackson the first African-American mayor of Atlanta, who had died on June 23, 2003.
In mid-2005, construction of a fifth runway (10-28) began. It was completed and opened in May 2006. It was added to help ease some of the traffic problems caused by landing small- and mid-size aircraft on the longer runways which are also used by larger planes such as the Boeing 777, which generally have a higher approach speed than the smaller planes.
Hartsfield-Jackson International is the chief hub to Delta Airlines and mostly handles air traffic to other parts of the United States and Canada. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has international service to Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. It has two terminals where passengers check in, the North Terminal and the South Terminal (in re ali ty, these are just the north and south sides of one large building, and not two separate terminals). The middle part of this building is the so-called main terminal, used for security screening, before passengers head to their aircraft concourses. Airside concourses are arranged successively in distance from the terminal as Concourses T, A, B, C and D and E (the international terminal, which was opened in 1996 in time for the summer Olympic games). All concourses are accessible via the underground train and intermittent moving sidewalks.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport also has its own train station on the city’s rapid transit system, MARTA. The above-ground station is inside in the main building, between the north and south terminals on the west end.
Built as part of the airport, it was not connected until the south line could be extended to it in 1988.It is currently the southernmost point on MARTA, though there are talks of adding a second station for a planned second terminal. This could possibly be a substitute for adding a second people-mover.