Here we shall be talking about airports near Atlanta that one should take in order to access the city easily, although the previous statement might be a misnomer, as Atlanta has no airport save the largest and most active airport since 1998, which is the massive complex that is Hartsville-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (IATA: ATL, ICAO: KATL, FAA LID: ATL). Its name comes from the former Atlanta mayors William B. Hartsfield and Maynard Jackson. The enormous airport complex has 209 domestic and international gates, and covers some 4,700 acres (1,902 hectares for those that prefer metric over imperial), and has five runways running parallel to each other.
The airport serves international airlines that run to countries within North America, Central America, and South America. It also serves trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic airlines that go to destinations in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The airport ranks sixth in as an international gateway to the United States, as much of the flight schedules of the world-class airport are dominated by intrastate flights all over the country, mostly for intrastate travel throughout the southeastern region of the country. Much of the nearly one million flights that go to this airport are domestic, though the number of international flights is already huge in itself.
Atlanta has been the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic for two decades by now; and by number of landings and take-offs from 2005 to 2013, nearly a decade, losing that title to Chicago–O’Hare in 2014 temporarily, as they regained the title a year later. Hartsville-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has held its ranking as the world’s busiest airport in 2012, both in passengers and number of flights, by accommodating 100 million passengers (more than 260,000 passengers daily) and 950,119 flights. In 2017, it remained the busiest airport in the world with 104 million passengers. The airport has held this rank ever since.
The airport is the primary hub of major airline Delta Airlines, and is focused on by low-cost carriers Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit. Hartsville-Jackson holds the world’s largest hub, which is under Delta. Delta Air Lines flew 75.4% of the airport’s passengers in February 2016, Southwest flew 9.2%, and American Airlines flew 2.5%. In addition to hosting Delta corporate headquarters, Hartsfield–Jackson is also the home of Delta’s Technical Operations Center, which is the airline’s primary maintenance, repair and overhaul arm.
As for some history, the airport had its beginnings with a five-year, rent-free lease on 287 acres (116 ha) that was an abandoned auto racetrack named The Atlanta Speedway. The lease was signed 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. The first flight into Candler Field was September 15, 1926, a Florida Airways mail plane flying from Jacksonville, Florida. In May 1928, Pitcairn Aviation began service to Atlanta, followed in June 1930 by Delta Air Service. Later those two airlines, now known as Eastern Air Lines and Delta Air Lines, respectively, would both use Atlanta as their chief hubs. The airport’s weather station became the official location for Atlanta’s weather observations September 1, 1928, and records by the National Weather Service.