How Hartsfield-Jackson became the world’s busiest airport

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DECEMBER 27, 2015 ATLANTA Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed gives remarks during the ceremony. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport awarded its 100 millionth passenger for 2015 with prizes including a new car, two free airline tickets and a small crowd of officials and television cameras early Sunday December 27, 2015. The Atlanta airport — the world’s busiest — is the first airport in the world to handle 100 million passengers in a year. “It’s our commitment that we maintain our position as the world’s most traveled airport,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed during remarks at the airport before the flight arrived Sunday morning. The winner, a man from Biloxi named Larry Kendrick who arrived at the airport in blue jeans, an orange t-shirt and a baseball cap, was surprised to learn upon landing that he had been selected as the 100 millionth passenger. KENT D. JOHNSON/ kdjohnson@ajc.com

Hartsfield-Jackson International’s title as the airport that handles the most passengers in the world got an exclamation point Sunday when it became the first airport to hit 100 million passengers in a single year.

But it comes as a surprise to some that the world’s busiest airport sits in Atlanta, rather than somewhere like New York, Tokyo or London.

One factor was the foresight of city officials in establishing and marketing Atlanta as an air hub. Another was the rise of the hub-and-spoke system that funnels passengers in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson.

Read more on myAJC.com to find out what makes Atlanta different from other cities when it comes to airports. PLUS, full coverage on myAJC includes a timeline of Atlanta’s airport path through the last century.

PHOTOS: Atlanta airport greets 100 millionth passenger

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DECEMBER 27, 2015 ATLANTA Passenger Larry Kendrick arrives with full media attention from Gulfport MS. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport awarded its 100 millionth passenger for 2015 with prizes including a new car, two free airline tickets and a small crowd of officials and television cameras early Sunday December 27, 2015. KENT D. JOHNSON/ kdjohnson@ajc.com


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