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New Charlotte Airport Project Begins, Lobby Additions Hit Halfway Mark

Wed May 18, 2022 - Southeast Edition
Charlotte Observer & CLT


The 10-gate addition will house Delta Air Lines and three common use gates. (Rendering courtesy of CLT Airport)
The 10-gate addition will house Delta Air Lines and three common use gates. (Rendering courtesy of CLT Airport)

Construction is starting on the latest expansion at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in North Carolina, a $231 million project to add to its Concourse A.

As that construction is just beginning, though, other building efforts at CLT are ongoing.

In fact, travelers will get a look at the additions to the airport lobby for the first time this summer, CLT officials told reporters May 16.

In speaking with the Charlotte Observer, Jack Christine, the airport's chief operating officer, said that the $608 million lobby expansion is about halfway finished.

He added that parts of that building effort will open in a couple of months, but it is expected that the entire lobby project is to be fully completed in 2025.

Concourse A to Have 10 New Passenger Gates

The newest work at the airport is the 191,848-sq.-ft. addition to Concourse A, a project slated to be finished in the fall of 2024.

CLT noted on its website that the concourse will feature auto-tinting window glass to help control the temperature and sunlight inside, hold room seats with integrated power to charge electronic devices, terrazzo flooring in the center walkways and two new art pieces that are currently in development.

The addition will be wider than the airport's other domestic concourses to give it an open, spacious feel accented by high ceilings and scenic windows. It also will include a retail store, a restaurant and two bars, CLT said. It is being on land that once hosted the airport's car rental site, which was demolished in early 2016.

Christine told the Observer that the new gates will allow Delta Air Lines to boost its service to the Charlotte airport, with the airline gaining two gates to increase its total to seven at CLT. Each one of Delta's gates will be a part of the new Concourse A expansion.

When construction is complete, 10 new passenger gates will have been added to the concourse.

Overall, Concourse A's cost is approximately $231 million, according to CLT. It will be paid for by a North Carolina Airport Improvement Program state grant, Passenger Facility Charge bonds and non-Passenger Facility Charge bonds.

JE Dunn Construction and McFarland Construction, working in a joint venture, are the building contractors for the project, which was designed by C Design in Charlotte, and Chicago's Perkins & Will.

It comes on the heels of an earlier Concourse A expansion that built nine gates in a $200 million project that wrapped up in 2018.

Both concourse projects, and the terminal lobby work, are part of the Charlotte airport's Destination CLT, a $3.5 billion expansion and renovation program.

In total, CLT will have 125 gates after the Concourse A expansion is completed, Christine said.

In April, the airport opened another extensive project, the Concourse E Expansion, which added one gate to the concourse's north end and relocated nine existing gates to the new space for operational efficiency and to prepare for the installation of jet bridges by 2023.

Airport Experiencing a Recovery

All the construction activity is a good sign for Charlotte Douglas International, which witnessed a dramatic drop in traffic in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit North Carolina. Since then, though, the airport has progressed well toward a full recovery after recording 43 million travelers in 2021.

The Observer reported that figure represents a 59 percent increase from the 27 million passengers who passed through the airport in 2020. That is still below the record-breaking 50.2 million passengers who traveled to, from, and through CLT in 2019, airport officials explained.

But they predicted last January that passenger travel will make a full recovery by 2023.

"Recovery is strong here in Charlotte," Christine said.




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