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The World’s Busiest Airport Is Getting a Modern New Look

The World’s Busiest Airport Is Getting a Modern New Look
Jennifer Billock

The world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic is about to get a much-needed aesthetic makeover in its domestic terminal.

The busiest airport in the world is stuck in the 80s. Although Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is home to a club owned by Jay-Z, the most travelers per year, and an average of 8.1 outlets at each gate, the airport’s domestic terminal has remained more or less unchanged since 1980 — but that’s about to change.

Thanks to a planned $430 million renovation, ATL’s domestic terminal and select concourses will undergo a modernization effort that prioritizes open space and comfort.

Semi-Transparent Canopy (Photo: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport)

Here are the proposed changes:

  • A composure area after security so travelers can pull themselves together peacefully.
  • A new, spacious atrium with large skylights, allowing natural light to hit every nook and cranny.
  • Upgraded seating areas at the gates, with more comfortable chairs and more open space.
  • A semi-transparent canopy outside on the upper level so no one gets scorched by the sun.
  • An upgraded lobby with clean, sloping lines, lots of natural light, and room to breathe.

Terminal Lobby (Photo: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport)

Ricondo & Associates aviation consulting company is working in conjunction with the city of Atlanta on this project. The team released an official request for proposals (RFP) from companies looking to get in on the renovation earlier this month. A pre-proposal conference is scheduled for July 7, and all proposals must be submitted by August 12.

“This project will include much needed exterior and interior renovations to the existing domestic facilities that, when completed, will unify both Terminals and enhance the customer experience and service throughout the airport complex,” the RFP reads.

The renovations, which are expected to take three years to complete, will share some design elements seen in ATL’s remodeled international terminal.

[Photos: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport]

View Comments (5)


  1. chris19992


    June 30, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    “A composure area after security so travelers can pull themselves together peacefully”

    i’m really not sure what to make of that, it’s like they are admitting how invasive the TSA are but it’s ok, we built an area to relax in

  2. t_cliff

    June 30, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    ATL domestic terminal needs a rail connection to international terminal. The current shuttle bus is a joke for those destined for ATL and want to use MARTA go to the domestic terminal without a connecting flight (thus in the non-secure side of the terminal).

    One option is to extend the rental car people mover train from domestic to international. This is way more efficient and comfortable than the bus. A world class international airport should not have the current ground transportation fiasco.

  3. t_cliff

    June 30, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    An cheaper alternative could be an separate unsecured cart on the current APM people mover from terminal E and F to T, without stop or opening doors in between. Some rearrangement of access and logistics are needed, but cheaper than building a new rail.

  4. FlyingUnderTheRadar

    June 30, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    I hope to hell they do not install anymore of those blue lights and shiny tile floors like in Concourse F. They damn near cause epileptic seizures.

  5. dasrebel

    July 2, 2015 at 7:54 am

    ATL needs chairs/seats in the arrival area where people have to wait for passengers entering the baggage claim areas.

    MANY MORE TSA lanes. ATL has one of the worst TSA passengers inspections areas.

    A flight arrival screens for all airlines arrivals in baggage claim areas.

    Connecting to/from main terminal to international is a disgrace.

    The new looks will not help any of the above items.

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