New access restrictions go into effect at Hartsfield-Jackson airport

Access is now restricted to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in compliance with legislation passed by the Atlanta City Council on Feb. 19. The new policy went into effect April 22. 

Going forward, access will be restricted 24/7 to ticketed passengers, personnel, individuals meeting or greeting passengers, those performing facility maintenance, and others who have legitimate business to conduct at the airport. 

The legislation covers the Domestic and International terminals, ATL SkyTrain, Rental Car Center, and parking decks. Hartsfield-Jackson is publicly owned and operated by the City of Atlanta.

The new plan was approved in hopes of addressing the issue of individuals seeking shelter at the airport. At one point, as many as 300 people were spending the night at Hartsfield-Jackson. 

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The numbers declined after the airport and MARTA put a plan in place to assist individuals in finding alternative accommodations, but there were still too many people who headed to the airport when the weather was cold or they had no other place to go.

Land vehicles arrive at the departure level of the International Terminal of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The previous policy restricted access between 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. 

Some passengers like Aniya Wesley agree with the ordinance change. 

"I think it's a big issue," said Wesley, It messes up people who are trying to go somewhere."

"When you're traveling and stuff, it's supposed to be good service," Wesley explained, "You're not expecting to come to an airport and see a bunch of homeless people standing around not really flying here. They're just sitting there; it doesn't really make people comfortable. I know I wouldn't be comfortable."

Violators are subject to arrest and prosecution. For more information about this new policy, please review the attached frequently asked questions.