Parked Delta Planes Shut Down Runway At Atlanta

**Update 03/23/2020 @12:18UTC – Hartsfield Jackson Airport comment inserted***

Delta is taking some major steps when it comes to parking its grounded aircraft. It appears that Delta’s parked planes in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have now shut down a runway at the world’s busiest airport.

Delta Aircraft
To park some of the 600 grounded aircraft, Delta is turning to runways at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. Photo: Simple Flying

Parked Delta planes shut down three runways in Atlanta

As Delta finds places to park 600 of its grounded aircraft, a Twitter user posted the following images of parked Delta aircraft at Hartsfield Jackson Airport in Atlanta:



One image clearly shows aircraft parked on taxiways between the southernmost runway at the airport (10/28) and runway 9R/27L. In addition, there appear to be aircraft parked on runway 10/28 as well. Delta confirmed to Simple Flying that its aircraft are parked on three runways at Hartsfield Jackson, but declined to offer further details. However, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport confirmed that only one runway 10/28 is shut down.

Delta in Atlanta

As the airline’s largest hub, Delta occupies a lot of square footage on the airport’s grounds. This includes a number of maintenance and parking areas. At the north end of the airport, there are areas where Delta can park and perform maintenance on aircraft.

Delta aircraft
Delta has space at the north end of the airport where planes can be parked. Photo: Simple Flying

Operations-wise, Delta is the largest airline in Atlanta. And, thus, the largest airline at the world’s busiest airport. As a result of the crisis, Delta has scaled back a significant number of operations. This leaves Atlanta with reduced traffic numbers. And, since Atlanta does not have as many aircraft arriving and departing as before, the airport can handle the closure of three out of five runways.

Delta A220
Delta has facilities at the north end of the airport. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Over the coming weeks, the airline is expected to reduce services even further as more countries implement travel restrictions and demand remains incredibly low. Hard numbers on permanent cancellations out of Atlanta are not yet readily available as Delta continues to tweak its flight schedule and draw down further domestic services upon a wind up of international flights.

Delta aircraft in Atlanta
Delta has significantly reduced operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Simple Flying

Hartsfield Jackson International Airport

This airport is the crown jewel in Delta’s system. Not only does the airline fly to more destinations out of Atlanta than any other airport in its network, but also, the airline runs an incredibly efficient operation. Delta continues to remain one of the highest-rated airlines in terms of on-time arrivals and departures in the United States. Doing it at the world’s busiest airport is no small feat either.

Delta aircraft
Running an efficient operation at the world’s busiest airport is no small feat. Photo: Simple Flying

Delta is also mobilizing other spaces in Atlanta to support its operation. At the Delta Flight Museum, the airline has used the Spirit of Delta hangar to seat customer service representatives in a manner that is compliant with social distancing standards from local and national health agencies.

Spirit of Delta
Delta is using the Spirit of Delta hangar to seat customer service representatives. Photo: Delta Air Lines


Delta is using three runways at Hartsfield Jackson to park its aircraft amid slumping demand and international travel restrictions. Parking 600 aircraft is a monumental task. And, as other airlines continue to ground their fleet, it is not out of the realm of possibilities for more airports to close runways to park planes. Paris-Charles De Gaulle has also shut down two runways to park planes.

Have you seen these parked planes in Atlanta? What was that sight like? Let us know in the comments!

Simple Flying did reach out to Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport for further details. However, the airport was unavailable for immediate comment. This article will be updated accordingly.


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HELLO … it’s only ONE Runway !! 10 / 28 !!
Plus TWO Taxiways and more Taxiways to come if needed …


The ones that are stored in ATL will likely be the first to resume service once demand starts to pick back up

Karen E Nall

…”Hard numbers on cancellations out of Atlanta are not yet readily available….”

not so….fairly accurate reporting on flightaware claims out of 15,929 cancellations total today worldwide, about 589 were cancelled into and out of Hartsfield. Tomorrow’s cancellations stand at 12,035 with 7842 within, into or out of the US. btw, 1215 of those tomorrow are Delta.


The countdown now begins. As airlines begin sitting aircraft, the days tick away to the magical number of 90. Any aircraft parked longer then 3 months is considered to have entered long term storage, which will require more then just hopping in the plane and firing it up – in terms of maintenance.
Delta is probably one of the luckier ones, due to their history of keeping older aircraft and having an extensive MRO operation to service them.
Also; many of these aircraft that have been grounded, were not prepared for storage, I’m guessing. The aircraft were driven to a spot and left there, as is.
Interesting times, ahead.


Interesting article but my question is: what maintenance does a grounded aircraft needs? Seems unreal.

RJ Thomas

Also, 189 of 600 aircraft have been parked (as of 3/22). ATL will see ~100 total. Others will be scattered around the country at various airports.

B Clif

World’s Busiest “Passenger” airport….. Ughh how many times … O’Hare is still the Busiest for takeoffs and landings on average per day.

Steve Brown

Looks like they’re sending a bunch to So California Logistics (KVCV). shows about 2 dozen Delta arrivals today.


I Wwiuldnt worry about that 90-day countdown. The airframes in question appear to be parked temporarily on Runway 10/28 and nearby taxiways pending rotating ferry flights to- and from KVCV.


Instead of relying upon Delta, you could have easily discovered what runways were in open and which were closed by contacting the tower directly or by listening to the airport ATIS. (LiveATC.NET) Runways 8L/26R and 9R/27L are in use for arrivals. Runways 8R/26L and 9L/27R are in use for departures. Only runway 10/28 is closed and being used to park aircraft. Even before the current downturn in flight demand, Hartsfield was planning for a sixth runway. First rule of journalism is to perform your due diligence and obtain the facts from more than one source, and then ensure the facts you are reporting are confirmed as true. Delta has no idea what runways the airport is using from time to time, that is an FAA decision.


Delta is speeding up the retirement of the MD-88s, 90s, and some of the older 767-300ERs so expect to see a lot of those shipped off to the desert soon.