Terminal Lobby Expansion on Schedule
One year after the groundbreaking, the Terminal Lobby Expansion remains on schedule for completion in summer 2025. Construction continues making headway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport as passenger traffic, now at 65 percent of pre-COVID-19 numbers, steadily increases month after month.
The $600 million signature Terminal Lobby Expansion project will transform the Airport’s entrance with 366,000 square feet of new and renovated space, along with an architecturally stunning canopy to welcome visitors for decades.
As part of Destination CLT, a $2.5 to $3.1 billion capital investment program to meet passenger growth through 2035, the Terminal Lobby Expansion will provide additional circulation space on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim and Departures/Ticketing levels. Customer amenities will include modern ticket counters, eight original artworks, charging stations and five pre-security concession spaces.
“This is the Airport’s biggest construction project to date,” said Acting Aviation Director Haley Gentry. “When completed, it will be a showpiece that’s not only beautiful, but functional for our passengers as well.”
Currently, construction is underway on the terminal’s westside. Tower cranes were delivered in September to assist with lifting heavy equipment and construction materials. Basement foundation work and the installation of utilities have begun. A new Central Energy Plant, located in the Daily North Parking Lot, will be completed in June 2021 and fully operational by the end of 2021. It will house the boilers and chillers to provide heating and cooling for the Terminal Lobby Expansion.
New automated screening lanes (ASL) will open at Checkpoint E by the end of the year. ASLs are designed to improve the screening of passengers by automating many functions previously performed manually, which allows passengers to move faster and more efficiently through security checkpoint lanes.
The Airport also plans to consolidate CLT’s five security checkpoints into three larger, more efficient checkpoints as part of the Terminal Lobby Expansion. Each new checkpoint will have more lanes than the current smaller checkpoints with plans to install additional ASLs, thereby increasing passenger throughput.
The Queen Charlotte statue will take center stage inside the expansion. The Airport recently transported the 3,000 pound, 15-foot-tall, bronze statue to Carolina Bronze in Seagrove for cleaning. The Queen is scheduled for installation inside the terminal lobby next spring, but will remain covered until she is unveiled upon the completion of construction.
“Our Queen Charlotte statue has become synonymous with the City of Charlotte and the Airport,” Haley said. “She is our crown jewel and the perfect addition to our renovated terminal lobby.”
Another attention grabber, a 146,000-square-foot exterior canopy will cover the Elevated Roadway and Terminal Curb Front to shield passengers from inclement weather. Construction near the Hourly Deck has started on the canopy columns.
Two pedestrian overhead walkways and two subterranean walkways will connect the Hourly Deck to the terminal, which will allow CLT visitors to bypass upper and lower level Airport roadway traffic. Crews have begun installing mechanical and electrical systems for the west tunnel. It will open to the public at the beginning of 2022. Work on the east tunnel will begin in 2023 and wrap up in 2025.
By fall 2021, CLT will shift passenger access to the terminal from doors 3 and 4 back through doors 1 and 2 once the structure for the west expansion is complete. This will allow demolition and construction to begin for the eastside expansion. In addition to expanding the terminal, the Terminal Lobby Expansion will create hundreds of construction jobs and generate millions in the purchasing of goods, materials and services.
“We’re excited about the changes taking place at the Airport,” Gentry said. “The Terminal Lobby Expansion, along with our recent concourse renovations, are all changes we’re making to enhance the customer experience and provide our passengers a world-class facility to be proud of.”