A Guide to Atlanta International Airport! (KATL)
Wedged right in between Interstate 75, Interstate 85, and Interstate 285, Atlanta International Airport takes great advantage of its space. As the main hub for SkyTeam member Delta Airlines, it carries tons of flights for the airline and has carried the title for world’s busiest passenger airport for 22 years. It’s time to dive in to this beast of an airport!
KATL from above with the camera facing south.
Passenger Terminal (Main)
Atlanta’s main passenger terminal is one of the largest in the world. With seven concourses - all used by Delta, this is one of the most expansive hubs on the planet. Also used by 21 other airlines, this terminal is also one of the largest multi-airline terminals in the world. Each concourse can be considered a satellite concourse, aside from Concourses T and F. International arrivals can arrive at each concourse, although it is preferred they use concourses E or F.
<- Domestic Flights | International Flights ->
Terminal T is the westernmost concourse of the terminal area. Once used for the airport’s international flights, this terminal fell to domestic status right before the 1996 Olympics, losing its status to Terminal E. This terminal has 17 gates, all facing inward towards the satellite terminals to its east. Non-Delta flights use the north end of this concourse.
Yet another primarily domestic concourse, Concourse A is the airport’s westernmost satellite concourse. With 29 gates facing both directions, this concourse is also used for Delta only and has a heavy prevalence in their domestic system.
Just like Concourses T and A, this concourse is used primarily for domestic flights. With 32 gates also facing both directions, this concourse is Delta territory only and has heavy conveyance in their domestic system.
As with the former three Concourses, this is a primarily domestic terminal. The opposite of Concourse T applies here, Non-Delta flights (specifically Southwest Airlines flights) use the south end of this concourse. This concourse contains 34 gates and is the main focus zone for Southwest at Atlanta.
Concourse D is the easternmost domestic concourse at KATL. It holds domestic flights for several Non-Delta airlines, but it also has heavy Delta prevalence. This concourse has the most gates of any concourse at KATL, with 40 gates.
Concourse E is the primary International Terminal for Delta Airlines at KATL. This concourse has less gates than some of the Domestic concourses at KATL, with only 28 gates. However, the gates are suitable for larger planes.
Concourse F only has 15 gates, the least of all of the concourses at KATL. However, it holds all non-Delta international flights into the airport. The A380 can be featured at Gate F3, and other large planes can be seen at other gates around it. This concourse is the easternmost concourse at the airport.
There are two Cargo Terminals at KATL, conveniently located on both ends of the airport. The North Area is located north of Runway 8L/26R. The South Area is located in between Runways 27L/9R and Runways 10/28.
Runways (From North to South)
Do not be deceived by the runway designations, all five runways are parallel. There are two runways north of the terminal and three south of the terminal.
This runway is the northernmost runway at the airport, and is used for landings on the northern end of the airport. At almost exactly 9,000 ft. (2,743 m), this runway can suit almost any plane landing on it,
This runway is directly south of Runway 8L/26R, and is used for departures on the northern end of the airport. At almost exactly 10,000 ft. (3,048 m), this runway is well-suited for takeoffs.
This runway is used for takeoffs on the south end of the airport. At 12,390 ft. (3,776 m), this runway is the longest runway at the airport and can be used for any plane at the airport.
This runway is used for landings on the south end of the airport. At almost exactly 9,000 ft. (2,743 m), this runway is well suited for landings and works well with the jumbos.
This runway is the southernmost runway at the airport and is 4224 ft. (1287 m) south of Runway 9R/27L. This runway is bisected by Interstate 285 - the beltway of the city of Atlanta - and is used for both takeoffs and landings. At 9,000 ft. (2,743 m), this runway does its job well.
SIDs (Standard Instrument Departures)
KATL has several departure charts in all directions. They have different paths to a specific waypoint based on the runway, then continue on a unified path past the specified waypoint. KATL does not really have ‘straight out departures’ aside from a select few SID charts.
STARs (Standard Terminal Arrivals)
KATL has STAR charts into the airport from each direction, several of which I refer to as ‘Twin STARs’ with specific charts for west flow and others for east flow.
Fun Fact: Several KATL STAR charts start within a few miles of my house!
IAPs (Instrument Approach Procedures)
Every single runway at KATL (in both directions) is ILS certified. Runways 26R, 27L and 28 are Category II Certified, and Runways 8L, 9R, and 10 are Category III certified. All runways have RNAV (GPS) Approaches, and several runways have RNAV (RNP) Approaches. All runways also have RNAV (GPS) and ILS PRM; this extends the amount of Category II ILS approaches.
The runway layout and location cumulative to downtown limits visual approach creation, but if you would like to create one, give it a swing.
In closing, KATL is a HUGE airport that serves a huge area around the world and has service to five continents and a HUGE amount of domestic destinations. Go ahead and explore KATL, it’s here to stay!
I hope you all found educational value out of this adventure, and stick around for more from Gtmkm98, The Flying Trekkie!