CLT Contributes $24.6 Billion Annually to State’s Economy
Charlotte Douglas Remains Top Economic Driver among N.C. Airports

Jan. 11, 2021 - Charlotte Douglas International Airport contributed $24.6 billion to the state’s local economy in 2019, according to a North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Division of Aviation report released earlier today. That’s a jump from $23 billion based on 2017 numbers.

Other data reveals CLT created $1.3 billion in state/local taxes, 169,390 jobs for N.C. residents and $6.8 billion in personal income. All those numbers are up from 2017 economic impacts, which showed the Airport generated $1.1 billion in state/local taxes, 132,330 jobs and $5.7 billion in personal income.

“Our role as a top economic driver in North Carolina is extremely important to Charlotte and the region,” said Acting Aviation Director/CEO Haley Gentry. “CLT makes up 4 percent of the state’s gross product. The Airport’s job as a leading transportation hub fosters the success of everyone around us. We value that duty and work hard every day to sustain airport operations, in turn, bolstering the growth of our local economy.” 

The report, “North Carolina: The State of Aviation” contains 2019 data compiled and analyzed for NCDOT by North Carolina State University’s Institute of Transportation Research and Education. (The economic effects of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic are not reflected in the figures.) Impacts were calculated based on factors, such as jobs supported by the airports and the businesses that rely on them, business and leisure travelers, and airport capital projects and operations.

Overall, North Carolina’s 10 commercial service and 62 general aviation airports produced more than $61 billion in economic output, approximately 373,000 jobs, $15 billion in personal income and $2.5 billion in state and local tax revenues to the state’s economy.

CLT alone comprised 40 percent of the state’s economic output, 52.7 percent of state/local taxes, 45 percent of airport jobs for N.C. residents and 45.5 percent of personal income related to North Carolina’s 72 airports.

“COVID-19 has greatly impacted our operations,” Gentry said. “Although our passenger numbers are 60 percent of what they were in 2019, we are confident customer traffic will continue to rise this year. The aviation industry has a long history of resiliency and many are eager to fly again.”    

Charlotte Douglas is the second largest hub for American Airlines, the world’s largest airline. In 2019, CLT welcomed nearly 50.2 million passengers. Numbers for 2020 are expected in February and will be significantly lower due to COVID-19. Airports Council International (ACI) ranks CLT nationwide sixth in operations and eleventh in passenger traffic. Please view the charts below and NCDOT’s press release.


Economic Impacts of N.C. Airports

Annual Airport Impacts


Personal Income

State and Local Taxes

Economic Output

Commercial Service Airports





General Aviation Airports





Total Airport Impacts





Source: North Carolina: The State of Aviation - N.C. Department of Transportation's Division of Aviation