Jan. 12, 2022 - For two years we at CLT have pivoted countless times, strived to persevere through one of the most challenging times in aviation history and ridden the roller coaster of an always evolving public health crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic took the wind from under our wings at first. The Airport never closed, but our business partners were forced to shutter either for safety reasons or due to the lack of passengers and customers in the pandemic’s early days. We hobbled along as people canceled flights and stayed home. We took advantage of the “slow time” to make changes and improvements throughout the Airport so that customers felt safe and could stay healthy while traveling.
It was scary as all get out. We grappled alongside our customers to stay safe while working to keep the Airport operating and vital to the nation’s air transportation network and to restore passenger confidence in flying.
It wasn’t easy either. There were days when the Airport was so full that people wondered if there was a pandemic going on. CLT was busier than most other airports because it is American Airlines’ second-largest U.S. hub and a hub American deemed vital to its business despite the pandemic. So, when we are busy, we are REALLY busy.
We have been blessed for many months now with a busy airport. We are nearly as busy now as we were in 2019, our record-breaking year for passengers. We are happy that customers have the confidence to fly again.
But just as we did in the first wake of the pandemic, our efforts to provide a safe Airport remain steadfast as we come upon year three of living with COVID-19. Many of the changes we made more than a year ago remain in place:
Enhanced housekeeping: Airport housekeeping is a 24/7 job anyway, but throughout the pandemic, we have ramped up efforts to monitor cleanliness and pay special attention to the things you encounter often. Our partners in the terminal, such as the airlines, retail and dining concessions and others, continue to take steps to stem to spread of COVID-19.
Healthy air: Hospital-grade air filters are in place throughout CLT’s heating and air conditioning systems and in many places, UV-C light also sanitizes the air. UV lighting also is being used to continuously clean the people-mover handrails.
Hand Sanitizing Stations: More than 60 hand sanitizing stations were installed throughout the terminal when soap and water are not readily available.
Protective Shields: Many customer-service counters - from stores to airline ticket counters to parking toll booths to the security checkpoints – are equipped with protective shields for added passenger and employee safety.
Masks Required: The Transportation Security Administration still requires anyone coming in the Airport or one of our other facilities (such as parking decks and shuttle buses) to always wear a mask. Airlines require their customers to wear a mask while onboard flights too. If you forget yours or need a fresh one, masks are available at each security checkpoint podium and the Visitor Info Center located in Baggage Claim. Please Rock Your Mask for everyone’s safety.
Safety Approval: To ensure we were doing all we can, we sought independent review. CLT was the first airport in North Carolina to receive the international stamp of approval for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention in our facilities. The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR™ Facility Accreditation recognizes CLT has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention in its facilities. We are in the process of seeking reaccreditation.
In March 2020 as it is today in January 2022, we are committed to ensuring our passengers have a safe and positive travel experience when flying to, from or through Charlotte Douglas International. It’s been a long, challenging two years. We are glad passengers feel confident to fly again and we are looking forward to a 2022 that is prosperous for all the businesses at CLT. Their livelihood and the airport’s impact on the local and state economy depend on it.