Atlanta airport rolls out new operating hours

Changes in operating hours were implemented overnight at the world's busiest airport.

Beginning Friday night, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will restrict access between 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m.

Airport officials say only passengers with tickets and individuals meeting, accompanying or assisting passengers and authorized personnel will be allowed in.

Officials told Channel 2 Action News this is to improve safety during overnight construction but advocates for the homeless say this is a different story.

“That was the first thing I thought of, it is probably for the homeless people,” said traveler Anthony Jackson.

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Our partners with the Atlanta Journal Constitution snapped a photo at the airport recently, of what appears to be homeless people sleeping at the airport overnight.

Homeless advocate Marshall Rancifer told Channel 2's Justin Wilfon the airport wants them out.

“If they close the airport down and push the people out there will be a hundred more people sleeping on the streets tonight," Rancifer said.

From here on out, the airport says only ticketed passengers and their friends and family are welcome in the airport in the overnight hours.

An airport spokesperson tells me the homeless issue is not the reason for the new restrictions.

He said the change will improve passenger safety and security.

But he also said the airport does want fewer people inside the airport overnight with the ongoing construction work outside about to move inside.

“I understand you can’t just have people without anywhere to go just hanging around the airport,” Jackson said.

But some believe the restrictions will keep out those who need the airport the most.

“Where are these people supposed to go except for sleeping on the streets, where it’s not safe.