CLT Welcomes 27.2 Million Passengers in 2020
COVID-19 Impacts Airport Numbers

COVID-19 impacts on airline travel stifled Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s 2020 year-end passenger and operation numbers. The Airport served 27.2 million passengers in 2020, a 46 percent drop from CLT’s all-time high of 50.2 million passengers in 2019. The last time CLT had similar numbers was in 2005.

“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.”  

Today, Charlotte Douglas is at 54 percent of its 2019 passenger numbers due to fewer business and leisure travelers.

Overall, aircraft operations logged 397,983 departures and arrivals in 2020 compared to 578,263 in 2019, a 31 percent drop.

Flights, however, were added last year from Charlotte. Early in the pandemic American Airlines identified CLT as a focus city as it rallied to rebuild its schedule. American launched service in 2020 to Appleton, Wis.; Bozeman, Mont.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Montrose-Telluride, Colo. Southwest Airlines also began flights to Denver, St. Louis and Phoenix. 

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

Cargo, although slightly down, was the big winner of 2020 due to the popularity of e-commerce with 174,913 tons of goods transported through CLT versus 184,449 tons in 2019, a 5 percent dip.

The Airport remained focused throughout 2020 on instilling confidence in passengers to fly again and to deter the spread of COVID-19. Numerous safety measures were implemented. A housekeeping crew of nearly 300 employees worked around the clock to provide daily and deep cleanings with extra attention given to high-touch points. Protective shields were installed at ticket counters and cashier booths, and touchless payment options were introduced at many concessions. Hundreds of signs were placed in the terminal reminding passengers to wear a face covering, wash their hands and social distance.

As a result, CLT earned the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR™ Facility Accreditation in December, which recognizes Charlotte Douglas has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention in its facilities. CLT is the first airport in the state of North Carolina to achieve the accreditation. Nationwide just 13 airports have received the GBAC accreditation, although numerous others are in the process.

The Airport’s high safety standards have been recognized by customers as well. In CLT’s most recent 2020 passenger survey, nine out of 10 passengers gave the Airport high marks for the cleanliness of the terminal and eight out of 10 passengers were highly satisfied with the Airport overall.

On another high note, Destination CLT, the Airport’s $2.5 to $3.1 billion capital improvement program, continued making progress. Charlotte Douglas completed Concourse A and C renovations in 2020 and construction of the Terminal Lobby Expansion remains on schedule for completion in 2025.

“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.” 

As an economic engine of the Carolinas, in 2019 CLT contributed $24.6 billion in annual economic input, $1.3 billion in state/local taxes, 169,390 jobs for N.C. residents and $6.8 billion in personal income, according to a report conducted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation.

 

CLT Passenger Numbers

 

CLT Operation Numbers

Year

Passenger Numbers

Percentage Increase/Decrease

 

Year

Operation Numbers Landings and Departures

Percentage Increase/Decrease

2020

27,205,082

-46%

 

2020

397,983

-31%

2019

50,179,879

8%

 

2019

578,263

5%

2018

46,447,638

1%

 

2018

550,013

0.4%

2017

45,909,899

3%

 

2017

553,812

0.4%

2016

44,422,022

-1%

 

2016

545,742

0.3%

2015

44,875,519

1%

 

2015

543,944

-0.2%

2014

44,272,432

2%

 

2014

545,178

-2%

2013

43,456,310

5%

 

2013

557,948

1%

2012

41,228,372

6%

 

2012

552,093

2%

2011

39,043,708

2%

 

2011

539,842

2%

2010

38,254,207

11%

 

2010

529,101

4%

2009

34,536,666

-1%

 

2009

509,448

-5%

2008

34,739,020

5%

 

2008

536,253

3%

2007

33,165,688

12%

 

2007

522,541

3%

2006

29,693,949

5%

 

2006

509,559

-2%

2005

28,206,052

12%

 

2005

521,878

11%

2004

25,162,943

9%

 

2004

468,464

6%

2003

23,062,570

-2%

 

2003

443,394

-3%

2002

23,597,926

2%

 

2002

455,516

-1%

2001

23,177,555

0.40%

 

2001

461,264

2%

2000

23,088,455

 

 

2000

452,009

 

                    

 

CLT 2020 Month by Month - Operation/Passenger/Cargo/Daily Departure Numbers

 

Operations

Passengers

Cargo

Daily Departures

January

49,692

4,192,829

15,193

772

February

46,000

3,934,246

15,277

759

March

42,129

2,315,652

14,386

654

April

19,189

340,265

13,225

306

May

20,701

1,000,522

13,567

315

June

22,789

1,568,426

13,698

355

July

30,374

1,994,457

14,469

468

August

32,927

2,115,261

14,543

505

September

32,253

2,358,775

15,340

512

October

34,559

2,768,190

16,058

527

November

32,645

2,288,971

14,025

519

December

34,725

2,327,488

15,132

535

Total

397,983

27,205,082

174,913

Average - 519 daily departures