Atlanta officials plan to restrict airport access amid complaints of baggage thieves, unauthorized drivers


Officials at the world’s busiest airport want to prevent the non-flying general public from accessing the terminal at all times, citing safety and security concerns at the Atlanta airport.

The Atlanta City Council transportation committee voted Wednesday to change the loitering ordinance for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

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The measure next goes to the full council for a final vote.

More than 100 million passengers traveled through the city-owned airport last year.

Travelers wait line to check in at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, on Dec. 22, 2023.  (Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“We’re going to have 24/7 where we restrict access to the airport to ticketed passengers, those meeting or greeting passengers, those who are employed and those others having ability to do business at the airport,” Hartsfield-Jackson senior deputy general manager Michael Smith said.

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Airport officials instituted a policy in 2018 of limiting access to the facility between 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. to prevent homeless people from sleeping in the domestic terminal. That policy was codified into law in 2021, and now officials want to expand the hours of restricted access to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The new restrictions are being sought as the airport deals with theft from baggage claim carousels and complaints about unauthorized drivers soliciting passengers.




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