**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.
Parked Delta planes shut down three runways in Atlanta
— Kim Paquette 💫 (@kimpaquette) March 21, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.