Soaring into 2021 with CLT
Submitted by Amy Massey, PE, Kimley-Horn
CREW Charlotte hosted Haley Gentry, Acting Aviation Director at CLT, for an informative discussion of CLT at our January 19th virtual luncheon. Haley, a Charlotte native who has served in various roles at the airport upon graduation from ASU, provided an overview of CLT’s past successes, recovery activities, and continued advancement of infrastructure development projects.
Haley touched on CLT’s sustained growth and success over the last several years up until March of last year as the region’s #1 driver of economic development, with a record-breaking 50.2M passengers and $24.6M annual economic impact in 2019.
Key priorities in response to COVID-19 have included sustaining airport operations especially in support of mission-critical traveling, protecting its 750 aviation employees, and helping its 200 tenants be successful in part via CARES ACT funding. Recovery activities moving forward focus on building traveler confidence with enhanced cleaning efforts, an experienced recovery response team, and traveler communications. Ongoing air quality improvements, touchless technology, alternative mobility considerations, and online parking solutions are also underway with current passenger traffic and revenues projected at approximately 50% of what was expected prior to COVID-19.
Even with all the recent challenges, CLT continues ahead with its various development initiatives, including ongoing terminal expansion toward I-85 and the future Silver Line light rail connection to Uptown; as well as development of CLT-owned properties outside the Airport campus that are slated for distribution, office, retail, hospitality, and industrial use based on the Destination District plan.
As Haley put it, great people and partners are behind CLT’s successes. This is evident in the past, is being seen in the present, and will surely help to (re)shape the future of this important regional economic engine.