Despite the lagging economy, the summer season proved to be busy at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
“Hartsfield-Jackson had a very successful summer travel season, including our busiest July ever,” general manager Ben DeCosta said in a release. “Our airport improvement projects have enhanced the airport’s efficiency and the travel experience for our 250,000 daily passengers.”
Hartsfield-Jackson is undergoing a more than $6 billion capital improvement program mostly funded with debt. It includes a new, energy-efficient rental car center, a new 12-gate international terminal, and aesthetic and functional upgrades to concourses, people movers, and parking services.
“Hartsfield-Jackson summertime travelers enjoyed exciting new concessions, made use of competitively priced parking, and shaved minutes off their check-in times thanks to our expanded security lanes,” DeCosta said. “We were well-equipped to handle the summer’s high passenger traffic.”
July marked a new world record for monthly flight operations, according to Federal Aviation Administration data. Hartsfield handled 88,408 flight operations between July 1 and July 31. It also set a new single-day record with 3,125 flight operations on July 13.
In addition, the new security expansion program kept screening wait times at less than 10 minutes during off-peak times and no more than 20 minutes in peak times. During the summer, the wait time reached 20 minutes only 16 times, compared with 35 times in the same period in 2008 and 350 times in 2007.
In July, the Atlanta City Council authorized the issuance of up to $800 million of new debt to finish the Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr. international terminal. The new facility is expected to cost $1.35 billion and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The 1.2 million-square-foot terminal will accommodate an increase in passenger capacity and include a parking deck and 12 new gates.
The council also approved up to $590 million to refinance existing debt. Airport officials have not released details about when the bonds will be sold.
Atlanta owns and operates the airport and issues debt for it.