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Runway Extension Adds To Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport Efficiency
By Jim Douglas

July 28, 2012 - More nonstop destinations, additional payload capacity, more flexibility for aircraft operations and enhanced safety during emergency situations are all potential benefits of a runway extension that recently opened at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. A 500-foot extension of Runway 27R, the Airport's longest runway, opened to aircraft traffic on July 16. 

"This is exactly the type of infrastructure project that adds to the overall efficiency of Hartsfield-Jackson," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "It not only saves our passenger and cargo air carriers time and money but also strengthens Atlanta's position as a preferred gateway for international business and tourism." 

During the heat of summer, it can take longer for aircraft to gain the lift needed to take off. Air temperature directly affects how much fuel, passengers and cargo an airplane can carry and how much runway is needed for a safe takeoff. 

"The runway extension allows long-haul aircraft to fly longer distances nonstop, because they can hold more fuel on takeoff," said Aviation General Manager Louis Miller. "An additional 500 feet here means our passenger and cargo carriers can reach nonstop destinations hundreds of miles farther away than they could before."


The $40 million project included the runway extension, extensions of taxiways L and M, and the creation of taxiways LA, LB and LC. These three additional taxiways give departing aircraft triple access to Runway 27R, which increases carriers' and air traffic controllers' flexibility in managing airfield operations and should help reduce departure delays. 

Runway 27R is also Hartsfield-Jackson's primary runway for emergency landings. The extension gives pilots a longer surface upon which to land during emergency situations. With the extension, the runway is now 12,389 feet long (2.34 miles). About 540,000 square feet of pavement was added. Construction on the project began in January 2011. The project is being funded with passenger facility charges and Federal Aviation Administration grants. 



Hartsfield-Jackson is the world's busiest airport, serving more than 92 million passengers annually with nonstop service to 160 U.S. destinations and nearly 70 international destinations in more than 45 countries. The Airport is a frequent recipient of awards of excellence for concessions, operations, architectural engineering and construction including the 2012 Global and North American Airport Efficiency Excellence Award from the Air Transport Research Society. The airport is undergoing $6 billion-plus in capital improvements, which include a new, energy-efficient rental car center; a new, 12-gate international terminal and aesthetic and functional upgrades to its concourses, people movers and parking services.

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