Atlanta’s airport employs drones to monitor runway conditions


The airspace above the world’s busiest airport just got a little busier.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is now using drones to survey and document runway pavement for future maintenance.

In an effort to obtain the most accurate surveys of ATL areas set to undergo changes in the ongoing $6 billion ATLNext construction project, Hartsfield-Jackson officials — along with a survey contractor — applied for and received an FAA waiver allowing for drone flights above the airspace.

This is the airport’s second time using drones. A January flight was the first such flight of an unmanned vehicle in airspace over ATL. The drones captured data and imagery of the ATL garages scheduled for reconstruction.

The operation was so successful, plans are underway for additional drone flights.

Hartsfield-Jackson serves more than 101 million passengers annually with nonstop service to more than 150 U.S. destinations and nearly 70 international destinations in more than 45 countries.

ATL boasts a direct economic impact of $34.8 billion in metro Atlanta and a total direct economic impact of $70.9 billion in Georgia. The Airport is the largest employer in Georgia, with more than 63,000 employees.

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