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The world's busiest airport keeps its title

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport remains the busiest airport nationally and internationally, airport officials announced recently.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Atlanta's airport is the nation's busiest airport for the fifth consecutive year, based on the number of operations, which include take-offs and landings for 2009. FAA's Activity Data System demonstrates that the airport executed a total of 970, 258 operations last year, a 0.8 percent decrease from 2008.

Officials said that, although the FAA does not measure the flight activity of airports located in other countries, the Airports Council International's introductory estimates validate that, for the 12th consecutive year, Hartsfield-Jackson will also be the world's busiest airport, because of its 2009 operations and the 88 million passengers it served.

"With this title, comes tremendous responsibility to the millions we serve," said Ben DeCosta, aviation general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. "We will continue to work to be the world's best by exceeding our customers' expectations. In 2009, we opened our rental car center, and our new concessions program offers passengers a variety of shopping options to meet their needs and tastes."

The airport's Maynard H. Jackson, Jr., International Terminal is currently under construction and is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2012, officials said.

In 2009, the 1.2-million-square-foot terminal, included concurrent construction on roadways, the terminal building and automated people mover extension projects, they added.

"Construction is well under way," said Al Snedeker, Capital Improvement Program public relations manager, at Hartsfield-Jackson, in a recent interview. "Some time in April, they will place the last steel beam."

There is an average of 1,000 construction workers on site, daily, officials said. Once completed and operational, the automated people mover extension will connect passengers from Concourse E, to the new international terminal.

In other improvements last year, airport officials implemented a new recycling program and redesigned the Ground Transportation Center, which includes a dog park, a "town square," and a platform for entertainment.