Atlanta airport wants to close terminals to public on 24/7 basis to ‘enhance safety and security’

ATLANTA — Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson wants to restrict access at all hours, every day and close the terminals to the public that don’t have business at the airport.

“It has some uncanny people, so when you’re a senior especially it makes you feel uncomfortable,” traveler Doretha Harris said to Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach.

The change in hours and loitering ordinance passed the city council’s transportation committee this week.

“To ticketed passengers, those meeting or greeting passengers, those who are employed and others having business at the airport,” Atlanta’s Deputy General Manager Michael Smith said.

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Travelers, employers, and anyone picking up or dropping off would still be welcome like one father Gehlabch spoke with who was there to greet his son. Within a few minutes of sitting down at the food court, he saw the problem.

“I have been approached a few times for money. Very…kind of intimidating,” passenger Tim Cole said.

Cole says he even saw what he believes was a homeless man in the restroom exposing himself.

“He was naked, washing in the sink, just very loud,” Cole said.


The ordinance says the airport’s seen a number of recent incidents like attempted access to unauthorized areas, theft of baggage, indecent exposure, even violence, including an attack last Fall where a woman stabbed three people at the airport.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the airport said, “This legislation aims to clarify who is authorized to enter the airport, and enhance our safety and security protocols to maintain a secure environment for all.”

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It’s unclear how, or how strongly, the change would be enforced by security staff or Atlanta Police officers, but some say it would make it feel more welcoming and safer.

“I think that is a good idea because for women traveling alone or kids it is intimidating, make it a safer space I think at the airport would be a good start.”