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Atlanta's airport on track

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

marauz@news-daily.com

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently received good news.

The world's busiest airport was named a top U.S. domestic airport by Executive Travel magazines, and aced the annual Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) mandated inspection, according to Hartsfield-Jackson officials.

The airport earned a gold award for "Top Domestic Airport," by the print and online magazine , said Albert Snedeker, a spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson. The title received by the airport is part of the magazine's 2011 Leading Edge Awards. This year's winners were announced on Tuesday, he said.

Executive Travel magazine surveyed its readers to determine the 2011 winners, said Snedeker. Most of the publication's readers are senior-level executives at Fortune 1000 companies, he said.

"Delivering excellence is certainly a tall order in the travel world, with its diverse, demanding customers and unpredictable market conditions," said the publication. "But many companies still managed to provide stellar products to business travelers."

Delta Air Lines and AirTran Airways were also recognized by the magazine, said Snedeker.

Delta received several distinctions, including the "Top Domestic Airline Airport Lounge," and "Top Domestic Airline First-Class Service," he said. AirTran achieved a bronze award for "Top Domestic Airline Business-Class Service."

Katena Carvajales, spokeswoman for the airport, said Atlanta's airport also passed the FAA's annual inspection.

She said the FAA's inspection, which was conducted this month, found no discrepancies with federal airport certification regulations at Hartsfield-Jackson. The report concluded that the airport meets or exceeds all requirements of FAA Regulation Part 139, which governs the certification and operation of all U.S. commercial airports, she said.

"We are proud the airport has zero discrepancies, which reflects the hard work and dedication of our team," said Louis Miller, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson.

All of Hartsfield-Jackson's airfield operations were covered under FAA's formal inspection, including self-inspection programs, pavement management for runways and taxiways, airfield markings and lighting, training and inspection records, fueling inspection and records, wildlife mitigation, airport certification manuals and emergency preparedness, said Carvajales.

"Airport Operations, Maintenance and Security staff undergo hundreds of training hours and have a commitment to uphold high standards while operating the world's busiest airport," added Balram Bheodari, interim assistant general manager for Operations, Maintenance and Security, at Hartsfield-Jackson.

Bheodari said he is glad the coordinated efforts by the Department of Aviation's Fire, Maintenance, Operations and Planning and Development units, to keep a safe and secure airport, were recognized by the FAA.

Carvajales added that for the past six years, Hartsfield-Jackson has been the world's busiest passenger, and operational airport. More than 950,000 flight operations took place in 2010, she stressed.

Jim Peters, an FAA spokesman, confirmed that Hartsfield-Jackson passed the inspection. He said the inspection is essential to assure safe operations are maintained at commercial airports.

"We look at everything," said Peters.

Peters said if an airport does not pass the inspection, areas that need improvement are looked at more closely. The airport would be given a period of time to fix the issue. The amount of time provided for an airport is based on the discrepancy, he explained.