EXPANSION AT THE TEMPORARY TERMINAL
By 1956 Atlanta Municipal Airport was the busiest air transfer hub in the world and traffic had far surpassed the capacity of the temporary terminal. With the "Jet Age" terminal still years from completion, two long meandering concourses were constructed as an interim solution to increase the number of gates. The east wing was also extended to provide additional aircraft parking spaces. Eastern Air Lines dedicated their 900 foot long concourse, at center right in the photo below, on January 22, 1957. Delta's concourse, nearly a quarter mile long, was opened on October 14, 1957.
Here's an article from the November 1957 issue of the Delta Digest, the airline's employee magazine, with details and photos of the airport expansion.
This fantastic view from Delta's 1958 annual report shows the new concourse at nearly full capacity. Seen here are 12 Delta aircraft: 6 DC-7s, 2 DC-6s, 2 Convair 440s and 2 DC-3s. A Capital Airlines DC-4 and unidentified DC-3 are at top center and a trio of Southern Airways DC-3s are to the left of the concourse.
A rare color photo of a Delta DC-3 at the temporary terminal in the late 1950s, parked in the same position as the DC-3 closest to the terminal in the above photo.
An Atlanta Airport terminal diagram from 1960 shows six airlines serving the airport. Of these six, only Delta remains. What happened to the others? TWA merged into American Airlines in 2001. Southern merged with North Central to become Republic in 1979 which was merged into Northwest in 1986. Northwest was merged into Delta in 2010. Eastern went bankrupt in 1991 and Capital was merged into United in 1961.
Delta introduced pure jet service on September 18, 1959 when it became the first airline in the world to operate the Douglas DC-8. A second level was quickly added to Delta's gates 11 and 12 and both featured jetways that allowed passengers to board without having to go outside the terminal.
Michel Schou painted this excellent illustration of Delta's DC-8 N801E and the new passenger jetways.
This 1960 aerial view shows the cramped arrangement of the airport as well as the close proximity of the temporary terminal to the construction of the new jet port that would open the following year.