Charlotte Douglas International Among Many Airports Impacted By COVID-19

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Officials with Charlotte Douglas International Airport say in 2020 their year-end passenger and operation numbers dropped significantly as the pandemic raged on.

Officials say the airport served 27.2 million passengers in 2020, which is a 46 percent drop from the airport’s numbers in 2019 (when they saw an all-time high of 50.2 million passengers).

“Nearly 30 million passengers is still a big number,” said Acting Aviation Director/CEO Haley Gentry. “By far, it’s definitely not where we want to be, but we are faring much better than many of our counterparts who have seen passenger reductions between 60 to 70 percent.”

Charlotte Douglas is only currently seeing 54 percent of the amount of passengers they saw in 2019, and departure and arrival operation numbers dropped 31 percent in 2020.

Airport officials say they hope to instill confidence in flying again, and have implemented numerous safety measures including a 300-employee housekeeping crew dedicated to deep cleaning airport spaces, protective shields installed at ticket counters and cashier booths, and introducing touchless payment options at many concessions.

Officials say hundreds of signs have also been placed in the terminal reminding passengers to wear a face covering at all times, wash their hands, and to socially distance.

Charlotte Douglas officials say the airport earned the Global Biorisk Advisory Council Star Facility Accreditation back in December, which recognizes airports that have implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention in its facilities, for their efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

“The past year has been a learning experience for all of us,” Gentry said. “If anything, it has taught us perseverance, resilience and how to develop multiple plans. We remain vigilant about the needs of our passengers and employees and are truly optimistic about what lies ahead for CLT in 2021.”

Charlotte Douglas currently offers nonstop flights to 180 destinations, including 35 international locations and three U.S. territories.

Officials say the airport continues to make progress on its $2.5 to $3.1 billion capital improvement program, as they completed Concourse A and C renovations in 2020 and plan to finish construction of the Terminal Lobby Expansion by 2025.

In 2019, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport contributed $24.6 billion in annual economic input, $1.3 billion in stat taxes, 169,390 jobs for N.C. residents, and $6.8 billion in personal income, supporting Carolinas economy.