Apr 2, 2024 - News

5 Charlotte airport projects to watch

Airport walkway.

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

If Charlotte Douglas International Airport feels like a perpetual construction zone, that's because there are several big projects ongoing to modernize the facility — and to accommodate the millions of passengers who travel through every year.

Why it matters: Charlotte's airport is among the top 10 busiest in the world. It isn't just rebounding from the pandemic slump in traffic anymore. It's smashing pre-pandemic records.

By the numbers: Charlotte's airport expects to exceed 60 million passengers either by the end of the calendar year or the spring of the following year, airport CEO Haley Gentry tells Axios.

  • A record 53.4 million passengers traveled through CLT in 2023, breaking the previous record of 50.2 million set in 2019, per airport officials.

The big picture: Charlotte's airport reflects the city as a whole rapidly growing, with construction around every corner.

Here are five airport projects and features to keep an eye on this year:

Airport overlook

A new airport overlook off Marshall Drive is on track to open this summer, and it will be very different from previous versions, Gentry tells Axios.

  • The new overlook will include two playgrounds, space for food trucks, covered and uncovered picnic tables, parking for cars, bikes and buses, plus exhibits.
  • "It's a great free activity for families to enjoy," Gentry says.
  • The overlook area will also include a USAir Flight 1016 memorial. 37 of the 57 people onboard the Columbia, S.C. to Charlotte flight died when the plane crashed into a Charlotte neighborhood in 1994.
Airport overlook rendering.
Rendering: Courtesy of Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Delta Sky Club

Delta Sky Club will open its first Charlotte location later this year. The nearly 15,000-square-foot space will seat more than 250 people. The exact location of the lounge at CLT has not been shared.

  • Access details can be found here.

Check out our CLT lounge guide

Sky bridges

The sky bridges, which will connect the hourly deck to the terminal, are scheduled to be completed this summer, per the airport.

Rendering: Courtesy of Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Rendering: Courtesy of Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Concourse A expansion

Concourse A phase II expansion will open this fall, adding 10 new gates, which will primarily be used by Delta. The 191,848-square-foot expansion costs roughly $231 million. It will include:

  • Auto-tinting window glass to help control the temperature and sunlight inside the concourse.
  • Seats equipped with charging capabilities.
  • Two new artworks.
  • Two open bars and a restaurant.
  • Restrooms.

"We're already talking about 'where do our next gates come from? How do we accommodate the growth?'" Gentry tells Axios.

Concourse A expansion rendering.
Rendering: Courtesy of Charlotte Douglas International Airport

New direct flights

American Airlines recently launched a new daily direct flight from Charlotte to Tulum, Mexico.

Frontier will add eight direct flights from Charlotte this spring: New York's LaGuardia Airport, Baltimore, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, Houston, Buffalo, San Juan and Cincinnati.

  • American will also launch a nonstop flight to Vancouver, British Columbia starting June 5. Spirit will add a direct flight to Houston that day, too.
  • American will add seasonal nonstop service from June through early September for Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Bozeman, Montana: Calgary, Canada; and Spokane, Washington.

Find a full list of existing and upcoming nonstop flights from CLT here.

American Airlines gate to Tulum.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

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