the opening of the midfield terminal at Atlanta Hartsfield
International Airport grew near, the old 1961 terminal was stretched
limits and served more than double its increased design capacity. With no room for expansion, airlines found inventive ways to accomodate
more aircraft by double parking at some gates, sharing gates or parking at angles that created space for one or two more planes per
concourse. The withdrawal of United Airlines and TWA in 1979 opened up new gates for Eastern, Piedmont, Delta, and others, but space
was still at an absolute premium.
At the time of its closing in September 1980, the terminal served 15 airlines. This detailed map, courtesy of Bart Tigerton, below shows
the final gate configuration.
Piedmont took two of United's former gates on concourse D and managed to squeeze 3 planes into the space. Photo by Air Nikon.
Eastern also took several of United's former gates on the east side of concourse D and also managed to make room for an extra
aircraft by parking planes so close together that the wingtips almost touched. DC-9 N8916E is shown departing concourse D in 1980. Photo by Mike Sparkman via airliners.com.
On the west side of concourse D, Delta and the commuter airlines Ocean Airways and Southeastern Commuter Airlines took TWA's two
former gates. Delta used gate 33 exclusively and the commuters used gate 35 (with up to 3 aircraft at a time) but, depending on the
time of day, Delta would park at both. In this 1980 photo, two Ocean Airways Martin 404s are parked at #35 while a Delta 727 is
parked at #33.
Republic Airlines squeezed in extra aircraft along concourse C by parking one row of planes diagonally instead of in a straight line. This is an excellent view of the midfield terminal nearing completion in the background.
Two Eastern DC-9s and a 727 parked at the end of concourse B. Particularly notable in this photograph is the old quonset-hut
temporary terminal building in the background, still bearing the word Atlanta. The old World War II building had been relocated
to the Hangar One general aviation area after the opening of the 1961 terminal and remained until construction began on the
4th parallel runway in the early 1980s. Photo by Air Nikon.
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