Concourse A Expansion – Phase I at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is opening in July. The nine-gate, 229,807-square foot addition will house United, Southwest, JetBlue, Frontier and Air Canada airlines.
It is the first project to open under the Destination CLT initiative, a $2.5 billion capital investment program to renovate the concourses and expand CLT’s roadways, curb front, airfield and terminal.
“This is a state of the art facility,” said Aviation Director/CEO Brent Cagle. “We are thrilled with the outcome. It sets the stage for what Charlotte Douglas International Airport has in store once concourse renovations are complete.”
Special features include 733 electrochromic window panes, each containing its own Mac address. The panes automatically tint according to sunlight exposure to control climate and light in the building.
Adding to the ambience, Interconnected, the largest public artwork of its kind in the nation and visible from both inside and outside the terminal, serves as the expansion’s focal point. Created by California artist Refik Anadol, Interconnected is a digital artwork comprised of three hi-definition LED media walls, measuring over 2,000 square feet, that display constantly changing dynamic abstract visualizations derived from airport operations data (flight arrivals and departures, baggage handling and ground transportation).
Terrazzo flooring spans the center walkways of the expansion to easily accommodate rolling luggage.
Another bonus for travelers, all 957 chairs in the gate seating areas have two USB ports and a power plug, allowing passengers to charge their various electronic devices without having to leave their seat.
Amenities include a Mother’s Room for nursing moms and a Pet Relief Area with an automatic flusher. Restrooms are equipped with modern finishes and water-saving toilets and sinks.
CLT’s signature rocking chairs scattered throughout the addition highlight the southern charm.
“Concourse A Expansion – Phase I provides passengers a premier traveling experience,” Cagle added. “It contains many passenger enhancements that are expected by today’s customer.”
For shopping and dining, concession choices will include Panera Bread, Smashburger, TripAdvisor, Charlotte’s Landing, InMotion, Jamba Juice, The Body Shop, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Starbucks and the popular local brewery – NoDa Bar.
Aesthetically, the addition spans 110 feet, 30 feet wider than CLT’s other concourses for a wide open, spacious feel accented with high ceilings, scenic windows and 32-cast forged steel column bases custom designed for the expansion.
Overall cost of the project, which also includes construction of the concrete ramp and taxiway lanes, is approximately $200 million that will be paid for by CLT’s $3 per passenger facility charge and future general airport revenue bonds.
Turner Rodgers, a joint venture, were construction contractors for the expansion that was designed by C Design and Perkins+Will.
CLT follows a demand driven approach. Projects are built when the growth requires it. Charlotte Douglas plans to add up to 16 more gates to Concourse A by 2023 during phase two and three of the expansion. The Airport currently has 97 gates with the ability to accommodate 102 aircraft. In coming years, Concourses B, C and E also will be expanded for a total of 126 gates by 2025.
“The Airport continues to grow at record pace,” said Cagle. “Our goal is to remain the Airport of choice for the nearly 46 million passengers who fly through Charlotte every year.”
The Airport will begin renovations on the existing Concourse A in September that will include new ceiling tiles, carpet in the seating areas, wall panels, upgraded seating with integrated power, terrazzo flooring in the center walkway and fresh coats of paint. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines will occupy the gates when completed.
Meanwhile, renovations on Concourse B are scheduled for completion by early 2019. Crews also will begin renovations on Concourses C, D and E in 2019.
All images – Rich Taylor Photography