CLT Prepares to Open Lobby Expansion’s East Side
The crown jewel in Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s Terminal Lobby Expansion will soon be unveiled. Surrounded by construction walls and veiled in a tan drape, the Queen Charlotte statue is ready to take her rightful place at CLT, greeting people traveling in and out of the city named in her honor.
The statue unveiling will happen on Oct. 20 in what will be called the Queen’s Court in the center of the terminal lobby. “The Queen is really kind of an anchor,” said CLT Chief Infrastructure Officer Jack Christine. “She ties the whole space together between what the lobby was before, and what it will be. She has had a bit of a journey and has been an important part of this project and a focal point in the expansion. This is the appropriate environment to preserve one of the city’s iconic pieces of art.”
The new home for the 15-foot-tall bronze statue of Queen Charlotte is the heart of the Airport’s $608 million Terminal Lobby Expansion. She will be the first thing arriving passengers see as they approach Baggage Claim, welcoming people home and giving visitors a royal hello.
You can learn more about the Queen Charlotte sculpture here.
Surrounding the statue is the Queen’s Court, a large gathering space open from floor to ceiling that is drenched in natural light. It’s a place where people can pass the time until a flight arrives, catch up with a loved one who just got in, or enjoy a bite to eat from the new concessions.
The Terminal Lobby Expansion (TLE) will increase the current lobby space by 175,000 square feet and renovate another 191,000 square feet. It will provide some much-needed extra room for CLT, the world’s seventh busiest airport for air traffic. The TLE also will elevate the entire experience for our community. “This is a meaningful change,” Christine said. “It will transform the feel of Ticketing and Baggage Claim to not only be more functional, but beautiful as well.”
Every detail of the TLE was thoughtfully considered. When the planning team first started working on it, they wanted to reflect the essence of Charlotte, a modern southern city. “The portals for entry and exit are a blue gingham pattern, which is a nod to Charlotte’s southern hospitality,” Christine said. “We paired that with white metal ceilings, a lot of glass, and very clean lines. It’s beautiful and modern, but it still reflects that old southern hospitality that defines us.”
In partnership with the Arts & Science Council, eight artists were selected to create pieces for the TLE. There are suspended sculptures, murals, as well as several other artistic touches throughout the lobby. “There are nuances that make the lobby visually appealing in a way that connects with people,” Christine said. “The design of the terrazzo floors has sweeping curves and subtle color changes that flow with the way people will intuitively travel through the lobby.”
In November, security Checkpoint 1 will open, replacing Checkpoint B which has been closed since March. Checkpoint 1 will have eight screening lanes, including six Automatic Screening Lanes.
“This is a big deal for us,” Christine said. “We went through the summer with some reduced capacity, so having this new checkpoint online will be very helpful.” After Checkpoint One opens in November, no other changes will be made to the security screening process until after the holiday travel season.
Eventually, CLT will have three numbered security checkpoints. Even though the Airport is moving from five checkpoints to three, there will be more screening lanes, many of which will be Automated Screening Lanes (ASL). “The ASL technology is really important to us,” Christine said. “It allows multiple passengers to divest everything and get ready to put their bags through the screening process, whereas in a traditional line customers do that one at a time.”
More to Come
The next phase of the TLE includes renovating the older part of the lobby, finishing the 146,000 square foot canopy that will protect people being dropped off in front of the terminal as well as overhead and subterranean walkways so visitors can bypass airport traffic.
You can learn more about the Terminal Lobby Expansion here. Read more about the $4 billion Destination CLT plan, which is a collaborative effort with our airline partners and the FAA to accommodate the Airport’s rapid growth.