Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is adding six more de-icing pads, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The goal is to prevent a repeat of what happened during the storm of January 2011, when travelers got stuck on the tarmac waiting for their planes to be de-iced and hundreds of flights were canceled, airport officials said.
The new de-icing pads are scheduled be completed next winter, Airport General Manager Louis Miller said.
Hartsfield-Jackson currently has 11 de-icing pads near Concourse E. Each pad can deice an average of two planes per hour, so adding six on the airport's north side will increase its de-icing capabilities by 12 aircraft per hour.
"I think it'll minimize the de-icing waits," Miller said. "I can't say it'll eliminate them."
Airlines typically thin out flight schedules by canceling flights in advance of storms, helping prevent travelers and planes from getting stuck at an airport.
"The less thinning you can do, the better, and a lot of those decisions are based on the de-icing capacity," Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant said.
The de-icing pads can double as aircraft parking areas during mild weather, which could have been useful when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast, leading Atlanta-based Delta to cancel thousands of flights, Miller said. Hartsfield-Jackson had to close taxiways to provide parking space for idled planes in Atlanta during that storm.