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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Charlotte and Raleigh airports report record number of travelers in 2023

North Carolina’s two biggest airports – Charlotte Douglas International and Raleigh-Durham International – both saw record travel in 2023.

Charlotte Douglas International had 53.4 million passengers last year, a 6.5% increase from its previous record of 50.2 million in 2019, a year before the pandemic. Raleigh-Durham International had 14.5 million travelers, compared to the previous high of 14.2 million in 2019.

Both airports also did considerably better last year than the year before. Charlotte Douglas had a 12% increase from its 2022 traffic of 47.8 million travelers. Raleigh-Durham saw its year-over-year traffic increase by 22%.

The 12% uptick at Charlotte marks its highest year-to-year increase (excluding COVID impacts) since 2010 when the airport had 38.2 million passengers, an 11% surge from the previous year.

“The growth we are experiencing is a perfect storm of multiple factors,” said CLT CEO Haley Gentry. “It’s a unique time in history. The strength of CLT as American Airlines’ second largest hub is driving the airport’s overall growth. Charlotte is an efficient spoke in the airline’s hub system and we are critical to their future growth.”

Aircraft traffic increased 6.6% from 2022 even with airlines focusing on mainline activity and up-gauging aircraft. CLT logged 539,066 arrivals and departures in 2023, up from 505,589 in 2022.

Charlotte’s international travel grew from 1.8 million passengers in 2022 to 2.1 million in 2023, a 20.9% increase. Airport officials attribute the growth to changes in travel habits, remote work and booming economic development in the region that made Charlotte one of the fastest growing populations in the nation.

The new year is expected to bring continued growth in Charlotte, including the Concourse A Phase II Expansion, which will add 10 gates in the fall. Skybridges will open in the newly expanded Terminal Lobby entrance and enhancements will happen in Baggage Claim and Concourse E.

Away from the Terminal, progress continues on the fourth parallel runway, the summer opening of a new Airport Overlook and the beginning stages of the Destination District commercial development project that will add commercial development to the property.

Raleigh-Durham also expects growth in the coming year with new airlines serving new destinations, says Michael Landguth, president and CEO.

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