News and notes from Hartsfield-Jackson, the world's busiest airport

Hartsfield-Jackson greets 100 millionth passenger with prizes

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport awarded its 100 millionth passenger for 2015 with prizes including a new car, two free airline tickets and a small crowd of officials and television cameras early Sunday morning.

The Atlanta airport -- the world's busiest -- is the first airport in the world to handle 100 million passengers in a year.

"It’s our commitment that we maintain our position as the world’s most traveled airport," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed during remarks at the airport before the flight arrived Sunday morning.

The winner, a man from Biloxi named Larry Kendrick who arrived at the airport in blue jeans, an orange t-shirt and a baseball cap, was surprised to learn upon landing that he had been selected as the 100 millionth passenger.

"That's a very big surprise," Kendrick said. "I have no clue where I'm going to go. Probably to Disneyland."

The airport hit the milestone of 100 million annual passengers as it saw a 5 percent increase in passenger counts this year, growing faster than the U.S. economy, according to Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Miguel Southwell.

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Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.