February 20, 2018- Charlotte Douglas International Airport served nearly 46 million travelers in 2017, setting an all-time high passenger record. It's a 3 percent jump from 2016, which welcomed 44.4 million flyers. The previous record was 44.9 million passengers in 2015.
"This is a great achievement," said Brent Cagle, CLT aviation director/CEO. "We remain focused on continued growth and accomplishing more milestones in 2018."
Passenger enplanements also were up 3 percent to 22.9 million, and international travel rose 6 percent to 3.3 million passengers.
Airport officials attribute much of the gain to strong customer demand, continued growth at the hub, as well as growth of the region.
Cargo activity experienced the biggest upswing thanks to the surge in e-commerce. It climbed to 191,612 tons in 2017, a 28 percent increase.
CLT offered nonstop service to 171 destinations, including 34 international locations and averaged 700 daily departures in 2017. Passengers were able to take advantage of seven new nonstop flights offered at CLT. American Airlines began nonstop service to Bangor, Maine (BGR); George Town, Bahamas (GGT); Rapid City, South Dakota (RAP); Shreveport, Louisiana (SHV); Toledo, Ohio (TOL) and Montrose, Colorado (MTJ). Frontier Airlines launched nonstop service to Cleveland, Ohio (CLE).
Riding that uptick, operations had a 1.5 percent increase of 553,812 aircraft movements in 2017.
CLT remains one of the fastest growing airports in the country and has been preparing for passenger growth. Destination CLT, a $2.5 billion development plan, is well underway. It includes construction of the elevated roadway, terminal expansion and renovations. This summer, Concourse A Expansion - Phase I will open, adding nine gates. Concourse B renovations will wrap-up by the end of the year. The 16 lanes (8 upper and 8 lower lanes) of the elevated roadway and curb front will debut in early 2019. Learn more about Destination CLT projects.
The Aviation Department also kicked off one of the most extensive concession revamps in Airport history last year. Chick-fil-A (Atrium), CNBC Express (Concourse E), Panda Express (Concourse E), Tumi (D/E Connector), Xpress Spa (A/B and D/E connectors) and Starbucks (Concourse D) opened, offering more than 100 retail shops and restaurants within the terminal. Several more concessions are scheduled to greet passengers this year.
As an economic engine of the Carolinas, CLT contributes $16.2 billion yearly to the local region and supports 224,410 jobs that generate a $11.52 billion payroll.