Despite the delay in building a new international terminal, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is prepared to welcome the increased foreign traffic that will be generated by Delta Air Lines Inc.’s expansion of international flights, Ben DeCosta, aviation general manager at the airport, told GlobalAtlanta.

Mr. DeCosta was a guest at last Tuesday’s Kiwanis Club of Atlanta Inc.’s weekly luncheon, where he discussed scheduled renovations to the world’s busiest passenger airport and addressed the airport’s decision to scrap proposed designs for a new international terminal.

“It would have been a truly stunning terminal, but when plans came in, it was $200 million over budget,” Mr. DeCosta told the Kiwanians. “Now we’re going to hire a new design team and either fix the [costly] design or start fresh.”

Completion of the new international terminal, which would add 10 gates adjacent to the existing international facilities at Concourse E, can be expected in 40 months, or a little over three years, after a new design team has been chosen, Mr. DeCosta told GlobalAtlanta.

In the meantime, increased international traffic that comes to the airport via Delta’s newly expanded international service will be shared among the 28 gates that currently receive international traffic. Since January, Delta has announced nine new international destinations from Atlanta, and the carrier plans to expand its service to 35 more destinations between Dec. 1 and March 4.

The airport, which is expected to have welcomed 88 million passengers in 2005, estimates more than $90 million for travelers in 2006, although those figures may be subject to change with Delta’s recent cutbacks on domestic flights.

In addition to the construction of a new international terminal, its more than $6 billion renovation plans include a new rental car facility, a new South Terminal, cosmetic improvements to the Central Passenger Terminal Complex and construction of a fifth runway, which is to be finished in May.

The new fifth runway, however, will not receive Airbus S.A.S.’s new Toulouse, France-manufactured Airbus A380 aircraft, which is to be the largest passenger airliner ever built, with standard seating capacity for 555 people. While the runway is equipped to handle the aircraft, Mr. DeCosta said that few U.S. carriers had bought the plane.

For more information on the airport, visit, or contact Felicia Browder at (404) 209-2954 or For more information on Delta’s new flights, visit, or contact Andy McDill at (404) 715-8218 or