Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia

Access Restrictions Now In Place At Atlanta Airport To Stop Homeless Influx

The airport will now limit access at all hours of the day.

Travelers to Atlanta Airport will now see new access rules in place. Restrictions into the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport went live on April 22 to curb unhoused people from seeking shelter there.

Fox 5 reported that the regulations will limit who can be inside the airport at all hours of the day. Only ticketed passengers, those meeting them, personnel, or people conducting business may be inside the premises. This is a revision to the original policy, which restricted access from 11 pm to 4:30 am.

These restrictions extend to all areas beyond its main terminals, including the SkyTrain, Rental Car Center, and parking deck. The new ordinance aims to dissuade homeless people from trying to seek shelter inside the airport.

The issue surrounding the homeless population at the airport remains a looming issue for the City of Atlanta. The city owns and operates the facility, once deemed the world’s busiest airport, bringing in 286,000 passengers daily, according to its website. At its own height, around 300 people used the travel hub to sleep, especially during the colder months.

The city council passed a resolution in December 2023 for the airport officials to enact a plan to provide alternative shelter options. The plan led to a decline in unhoused individuals flocking to the area, yet further restrictions were not able to be stopped.

Some passengers, however, are happy about the changes, with one sharing how more “comfortable” travelers may feel with the restriction.

“When you’re traveling and stuff, it’s supposed to be good service,” shared Aniya Wesley to the news outlet. “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.”

Despite the benefit to passengers’ experience, those who are struggling with homelessness will have one less resort to escape outside conditions. Those who try to utilize the airport anyway will be subject to arrest.