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More expansion in airport future

By Trina Trice

More expansion is in store for Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.

A conceptual design for the airport's East International Terminal has been developed and has been unveiled.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and the Department of Aviation hosted an open house to show off the plans.

"The City of Atlanta welcomes the addition of the airport's new international terminal to Georgia's growing landscape. Once the 930,000-square-foot complex is completed during the fourth quarter of 2006, it will become a visual tribute to the region's economic growth and prosperity within the international community," Franklin said.

The EIT project will create a new Concourse F and provide 10 additional passenger gates, thereby, increasing the total number of international gates to 38 at the airport.

The EIT concept features upgrades to the airport's international passenger service and support facilities, including new concessions, duty free areas, ticketing, baggage handling, and general facility modifications.

International passenger traffic has increased by more than 80 percent since the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, according to Wendy Pruitt, spokesperson for Hartsfield Airport. "Even prior to the Summer Olympics, we experienced substantial growth in the number of international passengers," said Ben DeCosta, aviation general manager of Hartsfield Airport. "A world-class city like Atlanta deserves a world-class international terminal, and that's what we intend to build," he added.

The current international concourse E is the largest international concourse in the US. Concourse E has the capacity to handle up to 8,000 passengers per hour arriving at the airport.

Although the amount of jobs the EIT will provide on an operational basis once it's finished, construction on the project could create 1,500 new jobs for professional services and 9,000 jobs for skilled and unskilled labor.

The airport currently has approximately 44,800 employees, which includes employees of the airlines, concessionaires, Federal Aviation Administration, city of Atlanta and all airport tenants.