Atlanta's Airport changes overnight public access policies

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Atlanta’s airport is changing its policy for public access to the facility during the overnight hours.

For months, FOX 5 News has been reporting the growing homeless population and the problems being reported by officials in the public areas of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

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Officials said Friday that they will restrict overnight access to the terminals only to ticketed airline passengers, individuals meeting, accompanying or assisting passengers, and authorized personnel. The airport did not cite the homeless population in the release, but did state safety and security were factors in the decision. The airport said other major airports including Chicago O'Hare, Reagan National, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have implemented similar policies.

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"This new directive will enhance Hartsfield-Jackson's safety and security, operations, and facility maintenance efforts, and will allow our overnight crews the ability to thoroughly clean the public areas of the airport," Airport General Manager Roosevelt Council, Jr. was quoted as saying in a release to FOX 5 News. "We are working with our airline and concessionaire partners to implement a policy that is similar to like-sized airports across the country."

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In addition to security concerns, the airport cited an increasing volume of passengers, visitors, and ongoing ATLNext construction projects at the Airport's campus as a reason to implement the changes. Officials also said it would help clear high-traffic areas of the airport during the overnight hours for maintenance and custodial teams.

The restrictions go into place on Friday, March 2, and will be daily from 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.

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