"It's got to be on the north side of the city," Seaman said. "And when you go up there, there's no room. I don't see it happening. I think it's politically impossible."
But if passenger growth continues, local officials might be called up to do the impossible. Someday, Hartsfield-Jackson --- even with current expansion plans and a new international terminal --- might not be able to handle the passenger load.
"We believe we can accommodate upwards of 100 million," Mayor Shirley Franklin said in a recent interview. "But there is every reason to believe that Atlanta and Georgia need to be concerned about the airport infrastructure that will be necessary well into this century."
DeCosta said he will meet with Franklin this week to begin initial discussions. The airport chief said he is well aware of the challenges ahead. And he knows that many second airport efforts end up in the dust --- voters recently rejected a proposed new airport for San Diego.
"We want to do it in such a way that, if we go the second airport route, we have a good chance for a successful outcome," he said.
ON A CLIMB
* 1975 --- 25 million passengers
* 1995 --- 58 million
* 2000--- 80 million
* 2006 --- 85 million
* 2010 --- 105 million*
* 2015 --- 124 million*
* 2025 --- 150 million*
Source: Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
Feds concerned about Atlanta capacity
Hub-and-spoke carriers wary of Feds' suggestion that city consider adding another commercial airfield
Atlanta too busy for just 1 airport?; $1 million federal grant renews debate on whether --- and where --- a second commercial facility is needed
FAA study questions long-term capacity
The contract calls for DeCosta to get a base salary of $255,000 a year with a 4 percent annual increase through June 30, 2010.