American Airlines Celebrates Its 40 Years of Growth in the Queen City

American Airlines Celebrates Its 40 Years of Growth in the Queen City

Airlines 2022-05-10
Probably, you haven’t heard about it, but Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) new terminal doors were opened on April 25th, 1982 for the first time. Altogether, about 50.000 guests came to take a closer look at the new terminal and celebrate Piedmont’s newly established hub. Such an airport expansion allowed to mark the beginning of a new era of growth for the region and American Airlines' legacy carrier, Piedmont Airlines. Since that time, American’s CLT hub has become the second-biggest across its global network and an economic engine for the Carolinas.

Here’s what Haley Gentry, Director of Aviation for Charlotte Douglas International Airport, says about it:

“Over these past 40 years, our partnership went through many challenges, including mergers, bankruptcies, expansions, renovations, recessions, and a global pandemic, and thanks to that, with each year, we become much stronger”.

Four decades of growth

American Airlines’ legacy of service in Charlotte traces back to Piedmont Airlines, a regional air carrier, which was founded in North Carolina. It was serving markets across the Southeast. In 1948, Piedmont began commercial operations from Charlotte Regional Airport, but only at the end of the 1970s, its rapid expansion started.

In 1979, Charlotte city leaders opened a new 325,000-square-foot terminal, located across the airfield from the airport’s original facilities to serve Piedmont Airlines better, as well as the region’s growing aviation market. Once it opened its doors in 1982, the recently established hub – with 86 daily flights to 34 domestic destinations – provided more than 100.000 customers that passed through the airport monthly and the airline’s 410 local team members with a considerable upgrade.

By 1984, monthly customer traffic had become three times more, with Piedmont accounting for 70% of all airport traffic. To accommodate the rapid inflow of customers, the officials started several expansion projects that will help to turn CLT into the airline’s largest and most consequential hub. During the following decades, CLT has continued to grow under the USAir, US Airways, and American brands, and finally, has become the sixth-busiest global airport by customer traffic in 2021.

Positioned for the future

Since the demand for air travel grows day by day, American and the City of Charlotte are working together to sustain the success of those last 40 years, positioning the airport for the future.

What are they working on? Below you’ll find all the key details:
  • Construction of expanded ticket counters, baggage claim areas, security checkpoints, added gates, and taxiways that increase overall capacity and improve operational efficiencies;
  • American continues to hire thousands of new pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and frontline team members to respond to both current and future operational needs.
In combination, all of those strategic investments in people, products, and infrastructure show that American Airlines and the Charlotte region are striving for further expansion, including continued growth of its CLT hub to offer their customers the best services among all the competitors.

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