CLT Airport: A Burgeoning Aerotropolis 2019
CLT Airport, our No. 1 economic development asset, is seeing more growth and more changes than ever before—access lanes, gates, tower, electric buses, light rail extensions, bridges, highways, and more retail and hospitality alongside more logistics, intermodal, warehousing and distribution!
CLT Airport is a burgeoning aerotropolis—a metropolitan subregion whose infrastructure, land use and economy are centered on an airport. Airports have evolved as drivers of business location and urban development in the 21st century in the same way as highways did in the 20th century, railroads in the 19th century, and seaports in the 18th century.
As economies become increasingly globalized, time-sensitive and reliant on air commerce for trade in goods and services, the speed and agility aviation provides to long-distance movement of people and goods generate competitive advantages for firms and places.
In the aerotropolis model, time and cost of connectivity replace space and distance as the primary metrics shaping development, with “economies of speed” becoming as salient for the competitiveness of firms and places as economies of scale and economies of scope.
As the center of one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States, CLT Airport is taking a quantum leap forward. Its $2.5B in construction projects include a new lobby and ticketing, new gates, new terminals, new tower, new roadways, and new runways. And that’s on-site at CLT Airport.
Outside and around CLT Airport are new businesses, services, hotels, meeting facilities, logistics centers, warehouses and distribution facilities. CLT Airport’s investment is magnified and multiplied in the development of the surrounding area, which—with widened highways, new and improved bridges, and a light rail option—will seamlessly connect both Gaston and Mecklenburg counties on either side.
This, in turn, will provide easier access to more jobs and more business, expanding accessibility for the labor market and increasing economic opportunities.
There’s no doubt that CLT Airport is setting the stage for the 21st century, establishing Charlotte as a world-class city and hub of international trade.