A development plan was prepared for the airport and surrounding acreage, positioning the multimodal center as the core for office and industrial developments. The multi-modal complex would thereby become a magnet for new businesses, strengthen the economic future of the adjacent inner city community by providing a wide range of jobs, and result in significant environmental improvements.
The transformation of Charlotte Douglas International impacted changes on the airfield and beyond, including ...
Airfield. The plan called for, and in 2010 the City of Charlotte opened, a third parallel runway at CLT (18R/36L), providing a high level of capacity and inherently low delays. The new runway allows triple simultaneous aircraft operations and is expected to save an estimated $65 million in airline delay costs annually.
Terminal and landside. Given expected growth in passenger activity, the plan includes significant terminal expansions. CLT now has 91 airline gates to serve domestic and international passengers. The city incrementally added these gates, keeping costs low for the airlines and customers. In the near future, the terminal passenger processing areas will be expanded and the terminal access and curbside roads will be relocated and expanded.
Cargo facilities. The new runway is widely spaced (separation of 4,300 feet from the center runway) and this provided an opportunity for infill development. To make efficient utilization of this property, CLT is developing an integrated rail yard in a north-south orientation, connecting the Atlanta-Washington mainline with the Charleston mainline. Existing cargo facilities located south of the terminal area will be relocated to this infield area, creating a landmark cargo hub where all modes of transportation are available. Notably, the excavated soil from the railyard area was used to balance the runway construction site, with significant cost savings.
Environmental. The new freight center ultimately will provide long-term environmental benefits to the region. Centrally locating all freight and cargo activity on one campus allows shippers to significantly reduce “drayage” (the local transfer of cargo between modes and locations). Not only does this help maintain lower shipping costs, it removes vehicles from regional roadways, helping to minimize congestion as well as air emissions associated with these truck trips.
As Charlotte Douglas International has grown, positive economic benefits have continued to accrue. The airport has developed into a significant employment center, providing a wide range of jobs from entry level up through professional positions. It is considered by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and Carolinas Regional Partnership to be the most important asset the region has to attract business.
In addition to employment, the expanding passenger and freight activity have contributed to regional economic stability and provided opportunities across the area. The airport, per 2004 data, is estimated to contribute more than $10 billion to the regional economy. More than 100,000 jobs are attributed directly and indirectly to the airport.
While economic impact studies are useful tools in trying to assess the portion of the regional economy that can be attributed to the airport, the actual impact is far larger as many immeasurable impacts such as attraction of new headquarters or businesses are not classified as direct or indirect. Thus the “real” impact tends to be much greater than current models would indicate.
Even in the face of accommodating growing passenger and cargo activity, constructing a new runway, and upgrading the terminal area, CLT has maintained a highly cost-competitive financial position. With a highly favorable bond rating and one of the lowest airline costs per enplaned passenger, CLT is among the lowest-cost large hub airports in the US.
The principles of CLT’s 1997 strategic plan set out several goals: reaching global markets, integrating modes, building a new platform for economic activity, creating jobs, and having a positive environmental impact. Some 13 years after the airport’s strategic planning, CLT has developed support infrastructure and service capabilities and is on the cusp of achieving these goals. Along the way, annual airport activity has grown to nearly 35 million total passengers, 509,000 aircraft operations, and 120,000 total tons of air cargo.
New Runway Complete at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Improving Area Access and Convenience
In addition to the newly completed upgrade, Wilson Air Center-Charlotte has recently added over 100,000 square feet of additional office and hangar space.
Charlotte/Douglas International Airport generates nearly $10 billion a year for the Charlotte region's economy and supports more than 100,000 jobs, according to a UNC Charlotte study.
Charlotte/Douglas International Airport generates nearly $10 billion a year for the Charlotte region's economy and supports more than 100,000 jobs, according to a UNC Charlotte study released Monday.
City officials are working with Norfolk Southern railroad to place a major freight terminal between two runways.