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Hartsfield-Jackson Kids Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
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Hartsfield-Jackson Kids
Hartsfield-Jackson Kids

THE ATLANTA AIRPORT - SERVING THE ATLANTA AREA FOR OVER 75 YEARS

Hartsfield-Jackson KidsHartsfield-Jackson KidsIn 1909, before anybody ever thought an airplane could or would fly into Atlanta, the Atlanta Speedway was built by businessman Asa Candler, founder of the Coca Cola Company. The speedway became one of the country's finest automobile racetracks, but because people did not attend the races, it only lasted about a year. The question of what to do with the track was easily answered in December of 1910 when a need arose to display a new and exciting invention, the airplane, or "giant man-bird" as it was called. Thousands of curious people showed up for a chance to see this flying machine in action at Atlanta's first air show.

A few years later, during World War I (1914-1918), airplanes became widely used, and the U.S. government manufactured hundreds of them. When there was no longer a need for them, many of the war-bedraggled airplanes were sold off at extremely low prices. For instance, at the time, a Model T Ford automobile was selling for around $500, while you could purchase a 4H (Jenny) airplane for a bargain price of $300.
Hartsfield-Jackson Kids

Hartsfield-Jackson KidsDuring the war years, air shows were not held at the old track and the 287 acres of land sat idle. But due to the farsightedness of one of Atlanta's government officials, Alderman William B. Hartsfield, who insisted that the city must move forward into aviation, the land took on new life in 1925. At that time, Mayor Walter Sims leased the land from Asa Candler's son, Charles Howard Candler, for a five-year period so that it could be developed into an airfield, which the city decided to call Candler Field.

A Florida Airways 200 horsepower plane, carrying a cargo of U.S. mail, made the first flight into Atlanta on September 15, 1926. The next year in October, Charles Lindberg, the first solo pilot in history to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean, was given a hero's welcome when he landed the Spirit of St. Louis at Candler Field.

Hartsfield-Jackson KidsThis decade saw history move progressively forward at the airport, when in June 1930, Delta Air Service (later renamed Delta Air Lines) flew the first passengers into Atlanta; Pitcairn Aviation (later, Eastern Airlines) began providing continuous passenger service from Atlanta to New York in December 1930; Delta permanently established passenger service with its Ft. Worth - Atlanta route in 1934; And the airport's first control tower was opened in March 1939.
Hartsfield-Jackson Kids

Hartsfield-Jackson KidsAs this decade got under way, Candler Field was declared an air base by the U.S. government and later, during the war (WWII), the airport doubled in size. The Airport made great strides in 1942 when it set a record of 1700 takeoffs and landings in one day and was named "the nation's busiest airport in terms of flight operations." Candler Field's name was changed in 1946 to Atlanta Municipal Airport.

As the airport became busier, more than one million people came through the terminal in 1948 and a historic count of 360,082 takeoffs and landings was recorded. During the same year, plans were also developed to build a more accommodating passenger terminal facility. To satisfy increased travel demands airport operations were moved temporarily into a war-surplus hangar.

Hartsfield-Jackson Kids The 1950's were exciting times in the life of the Atlanta Municipal Airport. The airport accommodated more than two million passengers in 1957, making it yet again the busiest in the country. And between noon and 2 p.m. each day, the airport became the busiest in the world with 25 airplanes competing for gate spaces. It was clear to airport officials that the congestion needed to be relieved, so work began on another passenger terminal in 1957.

Hartsfield-Jackson KidsCity officials held a big celebration May 3, 1961 to christen the new terminal, a facility designed to serve six million travelers annually. The terminal cost $21 million to build and at the time was deemed the largest single terminal in the country. It had 48 gates, one mile of concourses, gate spaces for 52 airplanes and a new control tower with approach radar that could reach 60 miles. Planners intended for this "Jet Age" facility to last at least until the mid-1980's, but by the time it was a year old, more than 9.5 million visitors had come through. In 1967 a decision was reached by city leaders and airline officials that it was time to put together a Master Plan that would provide some guidance for how the airport should be developed in the future.Hartsfield-Jackson Kids

Hartsfield-Jackson KidsEastern Airlines made the first international flight out of Atlanta when it flew to Mexico City, July 1, 1971. Following the Master Plan, construction began in January 1977 on the world's largest airport complex, which had a price tag of $500 million. Also in this decade, Sabena Belgian World Airlines became Atlanta's first foreign international carrier and began providing four-times-a-week trips to Brussels, Belgium, June 1, 1978.

Hartsfield-Jackson KidsThree years after breaking ground, the new airport opened its doors September 21, 1980. Sporting a new name, which honored a former Atlanta mayor who was a strong airport advocate, the William B. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport was the largest airport facility in the world. Two-and-a-half million square feet in size, the complex could accommodate 55 million passengers a year and 16 airlines - including five foreign airlines; and it had 138 gates and an underground rapid transit system.

The airport underwent even more construction, and in 1984 a 9,000-foot fourth parallel runway was completed. In the spring of 1985, work on an additional 11,889-foot runway capable of handling the largest commercial airplane in use or being developed was successfully concluded.

Branching out to meet the needs of the public in other ways, the airport linked up with Atlanta's rapid transit system, and a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) station was opened In June 1988.

Hartsfield-Jackson Kids

Hartsfield-Jackson KidsThe 1990's were years of tremendous growth for the airport, especially in the international arena. Concourse E, the largest, single international facility in the nation, with 1.3 million square feet of space, opened in September 1994. Just in time for the 1996 Olympics, the $250 million Hartsfield Improvement Program for 1996 (HIP '96) was completed. This project involved renovations and restructuring designed to make the airport a more user-friendly place. One of the most dramatic improvements was the addition of the beautiful, three-story, 250,000 square foot Atrium.

Hartsfield-Jackson played a significant role in the success Atlanta enjoyed as host for the 1996 Olympics. The Airport was the first stop for more than 10,000 athletes and approximately two million fans. No doubt, adding to the positive impression the airport made on many of those visitors is the fact that international travelers can reach Atlanta from almost anywhere on the globe with a single connection.

Other important developments that took place in the decade of the 1990's included the opening of the Atlanta Perishable and Equine Complex, the launching of a new Master Plan covering the airport's needs into the 2000's, and the airport's reaching a new high in the number of Hartsfield-Jackson passengers - 68 million in 1997!

 

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