Who Will Be The First 100 Millionth Passenger? (Update)

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) Aerial View

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the busiest airport in the world by passenger (Insight – March 31, 2015). The airport will be celebrating a big 100 millionth passenger milestone in December 2015.

100 Millionth Passenger

The airport is located seven miles (~ten kilometers) south of the central business district of Atlanta, Georgia, United States. To stay in first place as the busiest in the world in 2014, it served over 96.1 million passengers with nonstop service to more than 150 U.S. destinations and nearly 70 international destinations in more than 45 countries.

The latest reported data for September 2015 indicated that the airport is tracking passenger volume that is 5% higher than the same time last year. With the busy US Thanksgiving in November and holiday season in December, the airport will break the 100 millionth passenger mark some time in the second half of December.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) 100 millionth passenger

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) 100 millionth passenger
Source: ICAO and Bureau of Transportation

Who Will Be The 100 Millionth Passenger

To determine this milestone passenger, Hartsfield-Jackson General Manager Miguel Southwell said hired the accounting firm KPMG to “help validate this milestone”.

As there is no single entryway to count passengers entering into the terminals on a one by one basis, the accounting firm will help the airport pinpoint to the record day when the 100 million threshold is crossed. According to the airport spokesperson Reese McCranie, a passenger will be randomly chosen from that day and be given a prize to be determined to celebrate the occasion.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) Christmas

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) Christmas
Source: Airport Authority

About The Airport

The main tenant at the Southeastern US airport is Delta Air Lines (DL). The SkyTeam founding member is the dominant carrier with almost 74% of market shares at the end of September 2015.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) market share breakdown

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) market share breakdown
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics (Sept 2015)

Intermodal Options

Passengers  access the airport by car and airport shuttles. In addition,  this airport is the only one in United States to feature two rapid rail lines with direct access to the terminal (Domestic).

Operated by Metropolitan  Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), both the red and gold lines can bring passengers to downtown Atlanta within 15 minutes at a cost of only USD$2.50 with four free transfers allowed within a 3-hour period. The airport station handles roughly 35+ million people yearly (2013).

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) Train Options

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) Train Options
Source: MARTA

Future Plans

After completing the final pieces of the 1999 Master Plan which included building a fifth runway (Runway 10-28), the rental car center, airfield and terminal projects, the airport embarked on a new Master Plan for 2030. The airport is forecasting an annual growth rate of 1.5% annually up to 2031 with the majority of that coming from international operations. Different options for an additional sixth runway and new gates for both domestic/international operations are being considered to build capacity for future passenger demands.

Update – December 27, 2015

Passenger Larry Kendrick has been determined as the 1st ever 100th million passenger in the world.  He was on a Delta Air Lines (DL) flight from Mississippi’s Gulfport/Biloxi International Airport.

His prizes include a new car – a Nissan Altima – as well as a $500 gift card and two round-trip tickets on Delta good for any destination served by the carrier.

“That’s a very big surprise,” Kendrick tells the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I have no clue where I’m going to go. Probably to Disneyland.”