It’s Official: CLT is World’s 5th Busiest Airport
Mid-Year 2022 Passenger Numbers Show Strong Recovery

It’s official. CLT ranks the fifth busiest airport worldwide for arrivals and departures and sixth for passenger traffic, according to Airports Council International (ACI) 2021 final rankings that were recently released. The Airport’s rankings mirror ACI’s preliminary rankings that were posted in April.

It’s a jump from 2020 when CLT placed sixth worldwide for arrivals and departures and 18th for passenger traffic. 

Charlotte Douglas oversaw 519,895 arrivals and departures last year and served 43 million passengers. That’s 86% of the record-breaking 50.2 million passengers in 2019 (pre-Covid).

“We had a great 2021, and 2022 numbers are on track to be even stronger,” said CLT’s CEO/Aviation Director Haley Gentry. “Currently, CLT is one of the fastest growing airports in the country. That speaks volumes to the economic platform that we have created for the airlines to operate within, as well as the people and culture of the Carolinas.” 

This year, passenger numbers continue to rise. Mid-year 2022 passenger traffic reveals CLT is at 91% of pre-pandemic 2019 numbers. The Airport recorded 22,270,188 travelers from January through June 2022. That’s slightly behind the 24,592,464 passengers who flew to, from and through CLT during the first six months of 2019.

By comparison, CLT had a major decline in flyers due to COVID-19 over the past two years:

  • 19,464,927 passengers January to June 2021
  • 13,351,940 passengers January to June 2020

Charlotte Douglas has recovered faster than many other airports, which is largely attributed to American Airlines focusing on its Charlotte and Dallas hubs for its operations during the pandemic. As more people have the confidence to take to the skies again, CLT is predicting a 100% recovery by 2023 – a year earlier than previously forecasted.