A Complete Guide to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (KATL)

Your Way Around Atlanta Airport!

A Gtmkm98 Airport Guide - Inspired by Other Guides across the Community!


Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is well-known as Delta’s main hub, holding the title of the world’s busiest airport (aside from 2020) since 1998.

Its convenient location right in the center of the southeast United States makes it perfect for flights in virtually any direction (from Africa to Asia). And it is well-suited for that task, with five runways and plenty of aircraft room - for aircraft from the X-Cub to the A380.

Even with hours of 3D work and plenty of room, this airport is a good hundred miles away from top-tier busy in Infinite Flight - only achieving realistic capacity once to my knowledge in Infinite Flight (back three years ago during a Friday Night Flight). Typically, there are only two or three aircraft around the field at one time - unless there is ATC. It is a very unfortunate state for such a prominent airport. The intention of this guide is to fix such issues and misconceptions commonly seen around this beast of an airport. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

(NOTE: This picture is facing south)


Passenger Terminals

Right in the center of the airport is the passenger area. There are seven concourses here - all of which are used by Delta with a few other airlines sprinkled in. The airport uses a highly convenient satellite concourse system, allowing for quick shuttling of aircraft from the runways to the concourses.

Domestic Arrivals/Departures are serviced at the western concourses (T - D); International Arrivals/Departures are serviced at the eastern concourses (E - F).


You can use this link to find an extremely convenient airport diagram and more:

ATL - Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International Airport | SkyVector


Airlines at Each Concourse

image

Domestic Concourses

Concourse T
Airlines
American Airlines (North End)
United Airlines (North End)
Delta Air Lines (South End)
Concourse A
Airlines
Delta Air Lines (All Gates)
Concourse B
Airlines
Delta Air Lines (All Gates)
Concourse C
Airlines
Delta Air Lines (North End)
Southwest Airlines (South End)
Concourse D
Airlines
American Airlines (North End - Some Flights)
Delta Connection (North End)
Delta Air Lines (South End)
Spirit Air Lines (South End)
Frontier Airlines (South End)
Alaska Airlines (South End)

International Concourses

Concourse E
Airlines
jetBlue
Delta Air Lines
Concourse F
Airlines
Delta Airlines
COPA
British Airways
Lufthansa
Turkish Airlines
Air Canada
Air Canada Express
WestJet
KLM
Air France
Korean Air
Qatar Airways
Virgin Atlantic
LATAM

Cargo Terminals

North Cargo Area
Airlines
FedEx
UPS
Western Cargo
Amazon Air
South Cargo Area
Airlines
AeroLogic
AirBridgeCargo
Asiana Cargo
ASL Airlines Belgium
CAL Cargo Air Lines
CargoLux
Cathay Pacific Cargo
China Airlines Cargo
China Cargo Airlines
DHL Aviation
EVA Air Cargo
Garuda Cargo
Korean Air Cargo
Lufthansa Cargo
Qatar Airways Cargo
Turkish Airlines Cargo

Runways/Traffic Routes

Atlanta Airport has five runways, all five of which are parallel/on the same heading (95/275) - although they use different numbers. They all have different uses in each flow, which will be explained later on.

Runway 8L/26R

The northernmost runway at the airport, this runway is primarily used for arrivals from the northerly directions in west flow.

On the 8L end, the runway is Category III ILS equipped, RNAV (RNP) equipped, and RNAV (GPS) equipped.

The 26R end, on the other hand, is SA Category II ILS equipped, RNAV (RNP) equipped, and RNAV (GPS) equipped.

Unless assigned by ATC, do not takeoff on this runway - please and thank you!

Runway 8R/26L

To the south of Runway 8L/26R is this runway, primarily used for departures.

On the 8R end, this runway is Category I ILS equipped and RNAV (GPS) equipped. This runway is only used for PRM Landings.

On the 26L end, this runway is Category I ILS equipped and RNAV (GPS) equipped. Just like the other end, this runway is only used for PRM Landings.

Runway 9L/27R

This is the longest runway at the airport, at over 12000 feet. As such, it is primarily used for departures.

On the 9L end, this runway is Category I ILS equipped and RNAV (GPS) equipped. It is only used for PRM and heavy landings.

On the 27R end, this runway is Category I ILS equipped and RNAV (GPS) equipped. It is only used for PRM and heavy landings.

Runway 9R/27L

This runway is just south of runway 9L/27R, and is primarily used for northerly arrivals in east flow.

On the 9R end, this runway is Category III ILS equipped and RNAV (GPS) equipped.

However, on the 27L end, this runway is Category II ILS equipped and RNAV (GPS) equipped.

Runway 10/28

The newest runway at Atlanta, this runway does double duty - primarily servicing all southerly arrivals for either flow. In triples departure flows, this runway serves departures too.

On the 10 end, this runway is Category III ILS equipped, RNAV (RNP) equipped, and RNAV (GPS) equipped.

However, on the 28 end, this runway is Category II ILS equipped, RNAV (RNP) equipped, and RNAV (GPS) equipped.

Traffic Routes

NOTE: Taxiway V and Taxiway W (which go down around the thresholds of Runway 8R & 9L respectively) are restricted to aircraft with a wingspan less than 171’ (this means no Airbus A330s, Boeing 777s, Airbus A350s, Boeing 787s, Airbus A380s, the list goes on) and is only realistically used in west flow for traffic exiting Runway 26R or 27L

NOTE: Aircraft with wingspans at or above 214ft should prepare for departure/arrival in the south complex.

Departures (East Flow)

Runway 8R

Runway 9L

NOTE: Departures can expect an intersection departure from taxiway M2, the second runway entrance from the threshold.

Runway 10

Departures (West Flow)

Runway 26L

Runway 27R

Runway 28

Arrivals

West Flow


Red = Runway 26R; Yellow = Runway 27L; Blue = Runway 28

East Flow


Red = Runway 8L; Yellow = Runway 9R; Blue = Runway 10

Note: Cargo traffic routes are not included on every picture as it would cause picture issues.


SIDs/STARs

SIDs and STARs are not just paramount at Atlanta, they are essential. As stated on the RNAV SID AAUP page (Attention All Users), there are formal procedures and structure to each SID - not just flying the route. The AAUP pages can be found here:

Part I

00026DPAAUP (skyvector.com)

Part II

00026DPAAUP_C (skyvector.com)

Here is the general page for all KATL procedures:
ATL - Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International Airport | SkyVector

SIDs

IMG_E7146

Atlanta uses classic RNAV SIDs, featuring transitions from each runway into a merged RNAV track. There is a SID known at this time as the Atlanta One SID, but it is not used as a primary SID aside from use by Turboprops or regional/short-haul flights.

There are two sub-flows at KATL (aside from east and west): Doubles and Triples - Doubles is two departure runways and Triples is three departure runways.

The following published procedures are subject to change, and routings are not set in stone.

SID Name Named After Serves Routing Past Egress Fix Notes
ZELAN4 Unknown All Northerly Destinations RNAV (RNP) SID for Runway 27R; ATC Assigned for Turbojets Only
WIGLE2 Unknown All Southerly Destinations RNAV SID for East Flow; ATC Assigned for Turbojets Only
VARNM2 Unknown Louisville, Indianapolis, Chicago (O’ Hare and Midway) RESPE Transition: Join Q79 Northbound; GLAZR Transition: Join Q118 Northbound Expect Runway 26L/8R for Doubles and Triples.
PADGT2 Unknown Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati RAFTN Transition: Join Q65 Northbound; SMTTH Transition: Join Q67 Northbound (KCVG Arrivals, Join JAKIE5 at DOLLI after SMTTH) Expect Runway 26L/8R for Doubles and Triples.
SMKEY2 The Smoky Mountains Montreal, Washington D.C. (Dulles), Boston (Severe Weather Routing) BOBBD Transition: Join Q71 Northbound Expect Runway 26L/8R for Doubles and Triples.
PLMMR2 Unknown Boston, Newark, Philadelphia BURGG Transition: Join Q60 or Q22 Northbound Expect Runway 27R/9L for Doubles and 9L/28 for Triples.
JACCC2 Unknown Roanoke, New York - LaGuardia, Baltimore KELLN Transition: Join Q56 or Q58 Northbound Expect Runway 27R/9L for Doubles and 9L/28 for Triples.
PHIIL3 Phil Niekro (Braves) Lagos, Norfolk, New York - JFK HRTWL Transition: Join Q64 or Q54 Northbound; KCLT and KGSP Arrivals - From PHIIL direct CNTLR to join JONZE4 or WORXS2 Arrivals Expect Runway 27R/9L for Doubles and 9L/28 for Triples.
GAIRY2 Unknown Raleigh-Durham, Charleston (SC), Johannesburg Colliers (IRQ) Transition: Join Q172 Eastbound at YUTEE (KCHS Arrivals - Join OSPRI7 at IRQ; KRDU Arrivals - Direct PYRES and Join DMSTR1 Arrival) Expect Runway 27R/9L for Doubles and 9L/28 for Triples.
VRSTY2 The Varsity Drive-In Jacksonville, Caribbean Airports, San Juan NOKIE Transition: Direct YANTI then Join Q89 Southbound (KJAX Arrivals, Direct DUCHY then Join OHDEA1 Arrival) Expect Runway 27R/9L for Doubles and 27R/10 for Triples.
SMLTZ2 John Smoltz (Braves) Havana, Kingston, Orlando WALET Transition: Join Q79 Southbound at ZPLEN (KPBI and KFLL arrivals join VUUDU1 or TEEKY3 arrivals at ZPLEN) (KMCO Arrivals, Direct to ZJAYX then Join GRNCH4 Arrival) Expect Runway 27R/9L for Doubles and 27R/10 for Triples.
BANNG2 Unknown Miami, Key West, Tampa, Ft. Myers LUCKK Transition: Direct HONID then Join Q81 Southbound (KMIA and KTPA arrivals join FROGZ4 or MAATY4 arrivals at HONID) Expect Runway 27R/9L for Doubles and 27R/10 for Triples.
HAALO2 Unknown Quito, Panama City (Panama), Florida Panhandle Destinations SARGE Transition: Join Q19 Southbound at WYATT (Florida Panhandle Flights Expect Deviation at SARGE) Expect 27R/9L for Doubles and 27R/10 for Triples.
POUNC2 Unknown Guatemala, Ciudad de México, New Orleans GRGIA Transition: Expect Direct Semmes (SJI) or ARNNY (KMSY Arrivals, Direct SJI then Join MNSTR1 Arrival) Expect 26L/8R for Doubles and 27R/10 for Triples.
KAJIN2 New Orleans (Cajun) Houston-Area Airports, San Antonio STNGA Transition: Join Q40 Westbound at WINAP Expect 26L/8R for Doubles and 27R/10 for Triples.
NASSA2 NASA Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Memphis Vulcan (VUZ) Transition: Join Q30 Westbound at SKNNR or Q38 Westbound at BESOM; YAALL Transition: Join J14 Westbound; CHOOK Transition: Join T239 Westbound (<18000ft) at CHOOK or Q116 Westbound at LOBBS Expect 26L/8R for Doubles and Triples.
CUTTN2 Unknown Huntsville, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver HANKO Transition: Direct MUDHO, Memphis (MEM), WAMPM (For KHSV Arrivals), SMITZ, or other regional fixes Expect 26L/8R for Doubles and Triples.
PENCL2 Unknown Seattle, Salt Lake City, Anchorage JAACE Transition: Direct Nashville (BNA) or HITMN then Join J45/Q19 Westbound; EMAHH Transition: Direct CEASE Expect 26L/8R for Doubles and Triples.
Atlanta One Atlanta Airport All Turboprop Departures/Ultra-Short-Haul Regional Flights

TURBOJETS: After departure, accelerate to 250 kts ASAP and strictly follow the tracks shown on the SID plate.
TURBOPROPS: Operate in a manner that will result in the best forward speed and climb rate.

Props will maintain 4000 after departure until cleared higher or flight time reaches ten minutes, and Jets will maintain 10000 after departure until cleared to filed altitude (regardless of SID) or flight time reaches ten minutes.

STARs

Atlanta uses RNAV STARs, bringing aircraft in from across the country into the airport via specific fixes and routes (known as transitions).

Below, you will see a guide of the STARs and where they serve.

RNAV STARs

STAR Name Named After Serves Notes
CHPPR1 Chipper Jones (Braves) Great Circle Routes from Asia, Seattle, Salt Lake City Use MTHEW Transition only for this STAR when possible. Select 8L Route for East Flow, 26R Route for West Flow. LEMKE Transition for KCHA departures only; BBABE Transition for KHSV departures only.
GLAVN1 Tom Glavine (Braves) San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Los Angeles Use RUSSA Transition only for this STAR when possible. Select 9R Route/DFINS Approach Transition for East Flow, 26R Route for West Flow.
ONDRE1 Unknown Toronto, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh Select 26R Route for West Flow; 8L Route for East Flow. HIGGI transition for KTYS departures only.
OZZZI1 Ozzie Albies West Europe, New York-Area Airports, Charlotte, Washington DC Airports Select 27L/ROMMM Approach Transition for West Flow; 8L Route for East Flow. DGESS Transition for KGSP departures only; MHONY Transition for KAVL departures only.
JJEDI2/SITTH2 Star Wars Lagos, Johannesburg, Caribbean, East South America Select JJEDI2 for West Flow; SIITH2 for East Flow. MELNM transition ATC Assigned Only
GNDLF2/HOBTT2 LOTR/The Hobbit Ciudad de Mexico, Houston, New Orleans, West South America Select GNDLF2 for East Flow; HOBTT2 for West Flow. COOUP and KHMYA transitions ATC Assigned Only

Turboprop arrivals are brought into KATL via the following entry gates on Low IFR Charts (<18000ft): DALAS from V333 or V325; LOGEN from T414-427; HUSKY from V179; and TIROE from V222.

Use of IAPs

Due to its parallel runway layout, Atlanta’s primary kind of approaches are Visual and ILS (typically performed under PRM Conditions). Since PRM approaches are not listed or even existent in Infinite Flight, they are of no worry to you - the innocent reader.

IMG_E0690

It’s not as bad as it looks.

Approach Type Frequency How They Are Used
Visual Common Commonly used due to runway layout, performed via vectors.
ILS Common Commonly done with PRM guidelines, easily done due to runway layout.
RNAV (GPS) Fairly Common Also used often with PRM guidelines, easily done due to runway layout.
RNAV (RNP) Uncommon Unfortunately, the runway layout and complex airspace of Atlanta does not allow for many RNAV (RNP) approaches to take place.

Thank you for staying on the Plane Train for the whole ride! It’s great to see some survivors. Feel free to message me if there are any issues with the guide, and I will correct or address said issues. Thanks!

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Thank you for stopping by!!

12 Likes

I’ve been to Atlanta Airport multiple times IRL and can confirm it is HUGE and almost exclusively Delta.

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This is amazing. Super informative.

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