Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Keeping pace with the aviation boom

The commercial aviation industry continues to thrive, but as it does so, competition soars, putting a premium on service and value. Passengers at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport may have noticed a few changes over the past few years as the business strives to maintain its high standards.

Located 10 miles from downtown Atlanta the airport is generally regarded as the world’s busiest airport, seeing over 90 million travellers and 700,000 tons of cargo every year.

The airport has embarked upon a number of ambitious development projects aimed at improving services through a 10-year, $6 billion-plus Capital Improvement Program (CIP), as use of the facilities is anticipated to grow. The CIP projects look to reduce flight delays, increase airfield and terminal capacity, enhance overall customer service, and substantially contribute to Georgia’s economic development.

One of the key projects has undoubtedly been the recently-completed CONRAC development. Ten years in the making, CONRAC is an acronym that stands for Consolidated Rental Agency Complex and with in excess of 2 million passengers completing car rental transactions at Hartsfield-Jackson each year, it was decided that improvements were necessary to meet existing customer needs as well as future demands.

Opened towards the end of 2009, the (CONRAC) facility is located south of Camp Creek Parkway and west of Interstate I-85 on a 100 acre site that was then rental car space.

Among the main features was a new Rental Car Center, which has efficiency, convenience and a streamlined service at the core of its design. The new Center included an Automated People Mover (APM) system named the ATL SkyTrain; a series of 6 elevated trains that connect the passenger terminal to the rental car center in about five minutes.

The ambition and development have continued in the intervening years and the company website states that the world class Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal is the final element of the development program born from the 1999 master plan study, which also included the fifth runway (Runway 10-28), the rental car center, and many airfield and terminal projects.

“These projects have improved customer service at the Airport and positioned it to accommodate growth in demand,” the site says.

“We are now focused on the future and maintaining the Airport’s role as the region’s economic driver and a gateway to the world. The master plan process will assess expected growth in activity in the region and at the Airport, will gauge existing facilities’ ability to meet that future demand and will identify potential development solutions. The master plan study ultimately will identify Hartsfield-Jackson’s development path through 2030,” it continues.

It has recently been reported that among the grand scale plans is the construction of an upscale hotel next to its domestic terminal, a sorely needed amenity for the more than 250,000 travelers that pass through daily.

The hotel is the centerpiece of an effort to spur commercial real estate development around the more than 4,700-acre campus of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It could also include office buildings and retail space.

“The Airport City concept would be a first-of-its-kind type of project in the United States and will include the four-star iconic hotel with 300 to 400 rooms attached to the domestic terminal or within walking distance,” the Airport stated.

These improvements are of course designed to enhance innovation and the customer experience, something that Miguel Southwell, Aviation General Manager, emphasizes in his welcome on the corporate website:

“On behalf of the 58,000 men and women who work each day to serve you, welcome to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where efficiency, customer service, and your safety and security are our top priorities. We are so glad to be a part of your travel plans.  

“It is an exciting time at the world’s busiest airport where our airline partners connect you to the world, serving more than 150 US destinations and more than 60 international cities in 50 countries with more than 2,500 daily flights. As our guest, we want you to experience the warm hospitality for which Atlanta is well known. Our award-winning concessions program provides a wide variety of international and regional culinary delights that are sure to stimulate any palate. And we are constantly modernizing our facility to meet your changing needs.”

As competition continues to ramp up within the aviation industry, one of its busiest success stories is pulling out all the stops to safeguard its future.