Hartsfield-Jackson plans more pet relief areas

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091120 - Hapeville - Yara plays in the dog park at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport on Friday, November 20, 2009. This is part of the new Town Square. The Town Square was built as part of rental car center people-mover station, which was supposed to start operating Nov. 10 but was delayed until December. The town square and doggy area are already finished. Johnny Crawford, jcrawford@ajc.com

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport plans to add pet relief areas on its concourses to comply with a new federal requirement.

The world’s busiest airport plans to add areas for pets to relieve themselves on every concourse, according to Atlanta airport spokesman Reese McCranie.

Heretofore, Hartsfield-Jackson has had pet relief areas only outside the domestic and international terminals in pre-security areas of the airport. The airport has a 1,000-square-foot dog park outside the domestic terminal on the way to the shuttle pick-up ground transportation area, as well as a pet relief area at the international terminal on the arrivals level outside.

McCranie said the airport has identified locations for pet relief areas on the concourses, has designed the facilities and will start construction soon. There will be a total of nine pet relief areas throughout the airport, he said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation last year issued a rule saying airports with 10,000 or more passengers boarding planes annually would need to provide wheelchair accessible animal relief areas for service animals. It set a deadline of Aug. 4, 2016. Federal law requires airports that receive federal funds to be accessible to the disabled.

The DOT rule requires one animal relief area in each terminal, including in sterile areas of the airport. Hartsfield-Jackson will be fully compliant by the deadline, according to McCranie.

Although the federal requirement is intended to accommodate service animals for disabled passengers connecting, departing or arriving at the airport, McCranie said the Atlanta airport’s pet relief areas would be available to all passengers’ pets.

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