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NEWS Last modified on February 8, 2017

Charlotte Douglas grows in popularity with local travellers in 2016

Charlotte Douglas International Airport expects to record a slight dip in passenger traffic in 2016, but believes that a 7% rise in travellers beginning their journey at the North Carolina gateway and a rising route network ensure that it was still a good year.

The airport also expects to register a 14% rise in cargo volumes if the provisional year end figure of 154,477 tons for 2016 is confirmed.

It says the upturn was principally driven by a 13% increase in FedEx shipments and the introduction of a new all-cargo carrier, ABX Air.

Provisional figures indicate Charlotte Douglas (CLT) handled a total of 44.4 million passengers (-1%) and 545,742 aircraft movements (+0.33%) in 2016.

Airport officials attribute the expected 1% dip in passenger numbers to lower airline load factors, a trend that is occurring nationwide at several large airports, but they also note that the passenger numbers don't tell the whole story. 

For travellers beginning their journeys at Charlotte Douglas (local passengers) soared by 7% in 2016.

Indeed, CLT has been experiencing an increase is originating passenger traffic over the last three years due to the region’s growth, ensuring that local traffic currently accounts for around 27% of CLT’s overall passenger traffic.

The airport also added 12 new services last year that included non-stop American Airlines flights to San Jose, CA (SJC); Madison, Wisconsin (MSN); Cedar Rapids, Iowa (EIA) and Peoria, Illinois (PIA).
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In addtion American launched its historic non-stop flights to Havana, Cuba (HAV), while Frontier Airlines introduced non-stop service to Chicago O’Hare (MSO) and Orlando (ORD) and Southwest Airlines debuted direct services to Nashville (BNA). 

Via Air added service to Williamstown, West Virginia (PKB); Lewisburg, West Virginia (LWB); Weyers Cave, Virginia (SHD) and Orlando-Sanford (SFB) in Sanford, Florida.

Another expected plus in 2016 was an anticipated 10% surge international traffic, with provisional data showing that 3.1 million passengers were bound for foreign destinations last year.

International destinations served from CLT last year included London, which was boosted by a second American Airlines flight to Heathrow.

“This is all positive news for the airport,” said aviation director, Brent Cagle.

“It shows more people are choosing the Charlotte region to call home, which in turn creates additional local demand for service.
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"The airport has always believed that a key to our success lies in our ability to retain connecting service while growing local traffic.

"Our growth in local traffic will ultimately work to promote competition in the market and help attract additional international destinations.”

Charlotte Douglas remains the second largest hub for American Airlines, the world’s largest airline.

The gateway is in the midst of Destination CLT, a $2.5 billion capital investment programme aimed at enhancing capacity based on the airport’s growth forecast through 2035.

It includes expansion of the roadways, curbfront, airfield and terminal.

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