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Study: No place for second Atlanta airport

Special Photo
The Federal Aviation Administration initiated the Atlanta Metropolitan Aviation Capacity Study, Phase II, to determine if a second airport location could be found for metro Atlanta. The study concluded that, at this time, there is no feasible site.

Special Photo The Federal Aviation Administration initiated the Atlanta Metropolitan Aviation Capacity Study, Phase II, to determine if a second airport location could be found for metro Atlanta. The study concluded that, at this time, there is no feasible site.

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

marauz@news-daily.com

The world's busiest airport continues to develop.

The Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is well under way, to accommodate the growing number of international passengers, which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined will exceed 13 million by 2015. The terminal's completion date is anticipated to be April 2012.

The rental car center at Hartsfield-Jackson was completed in 2009, and was also built to accommodate the anticipated passenger growth. The rental car center consolidated all the rental car companies that serve the airport into one building.

Though the airport has been expanding within its property, a study was recently conducted to find a possible second location for a commercial-service airport for metro Atlanta, according to Al Snedeker, a spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson.

Snedeker said the Atlanta Metropolitan Aviation Capacity Study, Phase II (AMACS 2), concluded that at this time, it appears there is no airport, or airport site, to possibly serve as a second airport for the metro region.

"The study's findings place even more emphasis on maximizing Hartsfield-Jackson's capacity into the foreseeable future to accommodate aviation growth," Louis Miller, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson, said in a statement.

"To this end, we will begin a master plan update this fall to examine all possible ways to expand the airport's capacity within its current geographical footprint," he continued.

The FAA initiated the $1 million AMACS 2 study, and funded 75 percent of it, explained Snedeker.

Snedeker said the other entities that collaborated on AMACS 2 included the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation, the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). The study evaluated 29 sites, including those identified in a 1991 regional aviation study and a GDOT second-airport study, he said.

The locations studied included areas in Jackson County, Forsyth and Dawson counties, Monroe and Lamar counties and Paulding and Polk counties. In addition, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Macon's Middle Georgia Regional Airport, Athens-Ben Epps Airport and several general aviation sites were also examined.

The Future Airport Capacity Task (FACT) completed in 2004, and an update completed in 2007, were undertaken by the FAA to determine which airports and metropolitan areas would have the greatest need for more capacity in the next 20 years. FACT 2 identified specific U.S. airports expected to require additional capacity from 2015, to 2025. The study identified 14 airports and eight metro areas, which included Hartsfield-Jackson, that would need capacity beyond what was already planned, according to the AMACS 2 executive summary.

Based on these results, the FAA started AMACS in 2008, to explore methods and means to enhance short- and long-term aviation capacity in metro Atlanta. Following this study, the FAA determined a need to investigate a possible second commercial passenger-service airport for metropolitan Atlanta.

For more information about the study, visit Hartsfield-Jackson's web site, at www.atlanta-airport.com.