‚ÄčEconomic Development

Economic Impact

CLT Powers Region's Economy: $16.2 Billion Annual Economic Impact

Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) commissioned the Center for Transportation Policy Studies at UNC Charlotte in 2015 to assess the Airport's economic impact on the greater Charlotte region. The year-long study focused on regional economic activity, employment and payroll that are attributed directly and indirectly to the operation of CLT. The study confirms CLT's standing in the region as a powerful economic engine that creates jobs and opportunities for businesses to grow and prosper.

Direct impacts result from economic activities conducted on Airport property by airlines and tenants, Airport management, and various labor, construction and airside aviation contractors. Purchasing of locally-produced goods and services is also included. Indirect impacts come from off-site economic activities that would not have occurred without the presence of the Airport. Among the activities included: services provided by hotels, restaurants and other retailers; visitor spending; capital expenditures; and aviation-dependent government agencies.

 Total Economic Impact

Total Economic Impact

The findings show that the growth of CLT and the growth of the greater Charlotte region are directly connected. Since 2005, CLT's impact on the region's economic output has jumped 67%, from $9.7 billion 10 years ago. Using Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance, the latest Airport statistics and survey data collected, the study assessed the contributions of five key Airport economic categories, including:

    • Airport tenants and contractors, including airlines
    • Aircraft owners
    • Regional employers
    • Hotels
    • Airline passengers

Jobs and Payroll

CLT operations and activities support approximately 224,400 jobs in the regional economy, which is more than double the 100,700 level a decade ago. The healthy job growth in the region pumps more than $11.5 billion into the area economy through wages and salaries. The majority of the wage impact is from regional employers, and reaches approximately $10 billion. American Airlines' wage impact is $913 million.

CLT Job Payroll


Airport Operations: Then vs. Now

In 2015, CLT saw record passenger growth, serving 44.8 million passengers which puts CLT 9th in the nation. The Airport is the second largest hub to American Airlines and also home to several other major carriers, 15 regional carriers and three foreign flag carriers. As a result, the Airport's operations experienced unprecedented growth and ranked as the 5th busiest airport in the U.S., with 544,000 take offs and landings during the year.

Airport Fast Facts



More Information

For additional information on the Economic Impact Study, contact Stuart Hair at sphair@cltairport.com.

Owned and operated by the City of Charlotte, Charlotte Douglas International Airport is a self-sustaining enterprise and does not use local tax dollars. Operating funds come from revenue generated at the Airport including parking, concessions, landing fees, rental car, advertising, cargo, fixed based operator and retail.


Airport Area Strategic Development Plan

In October 2015, the City of Charlotte Aviation Department commissioned consultancy MXD Development Strategists Ltd. (MXD) to identify, define, and assess a Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) "Airport Area Strategic Development Plan" (AASDP) that will facilitate private sector commercial development of Airport owned properties. This "Airport Commercial Development Strategy" (ACDS) guides implementation of the economic positioning, land use strategy, and transportation and mobility framework defined in the CLT AASDP.  

Primary Objectives: 

The foundation for the CLT AASDP lies in its strategic Economic Positioning to embrace Target Economic Sectors and facilitate Airport Connected Development. To ensure that it advances the Aviation Department Vision and mission, the CLT AASDP has three primary objectives:

  • Self-Sustaining:  it should generate non-aeronautical revenue that helps fulfill FAA requirements for airport financial self-sufficiency.
  • Land Re-Use:  it should put vacant and underutilized Airport property into productive use.
  • Compatibility:  it should ensure that future development around the airport is appropriate for an airport environment and does not negatively impact aviation.

CLT Airport Development Map  

The CLT AASDP Study Area encompasses property under the management of the Airport and will consider interfaces with adjacent properties, businesses and the community.  

Previous AASDP Study events:

  • Neighbors Information Update - January 14, 2016

Man at podium addressing crowd at a AASDP event Man at podium addressing crowd at a AASDP eventMan at podium addressing crowd at a AASDP eventMan at podium addressing crowd at a AASDP event


Study Timeline

 Study Timeline

Study Findings

Complementary & Compatible Economic Activity

CLT AASDP Study Area  

Development Districts & Recommended Land Uses

CLT AASDP Molecular Diagram 


CLT is moving forward with implementing the AASDP's recommendations. Read more in the Project AMP (Area Master Plan) brochure.

The latest edition of Neighborhood Update

CLT Airport Commercial Development Strategy

For additional information on the Airport Area Strategic Development Plan, contact Stuart Hair at sphair@cltairport.com.