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These upcoming Charlotte airport changes should make for a better passenger experience

Hear about the new changes coming to Charlotte Douglas Airport

Deputy aviation director talks about renovations to Concourse A and B.
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Deputy aviation director talks about renovations to Concourse A and B.

Passengers will see some welcome changes at Charlotte Douglas International Airport next year as concourses undergo renovations to improve the experience for travelers.

The renovations will brighten and modernize the airport, said airport Deputy Aviation Director Jack Christine.

The changes are part of a $2.5 billion capital program that will include adding a runway.

Millions of passengers travel through Charlotte airport every year. Last year, the number of passengers at the airport hit a record: 46 million people. That’s up from about 33 million annual passengers who used the airport a decade ago.

The makeover to the concourses will include new lighting, ceilings and flooring, shifting from carpet to terrazzo. That makes walking through the airport easier for passengers traveling with rolling suitcases.

Seats in renovated concourses will include power outlets so travelers can charge up to three devices.

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Every seat at Concourse A North has outlets to charge devices. Ely Portillo esportillo@charlotteobserver.com

This year, Concourse B saw a lot of work.

“We’re starting to see the fruits of that labor on the B Concourse as we’re working from the far end of the concourse up to the main terminal,” Christine said. That project is nearing completion.

Concourse A construction began this fall and the renovations will continue in 2019.

The changes include adding onto the building to add more restroom and concession space, Christine said. That will make Concourse A feel bigger and also accommodate larger aircraft, he said.

American Airlines is scheduled to add four gates in the existing A concourse in late 2019 as other airlines move into gates in the new A concourse, said airline spokeswoman Crystal Byrd. The airline has its second largest hub at the Charlotte airport, and operates about 90 percent of the flights at the airport.

In July, nine gates were added to Concourse A. That created more space for travelers and included a glass facade with Internet-connected panes of glass that change to regulate light.

Opening those gates allowed renovations to start on the existing portion of the concourse, Christine said.

Most of the renovation work has to be completed at night, making the work schedule compressed, he said. Concourse A renovations are expected to be complete in about a year, around Thanksgiving 2019.

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Restrooms in Concourses A, B, C and D will also be renovated with new sinks, walls and floor tiles, according to airport officials.. Only one set of restrooms will be closed at a time on each concourse.

Renovations to Concourse C are expected to start in early 2019. The remaining two concourses — D and E — will be renovated after that.

American is planning to add up to three gates to Concourse E, the first of which would open in 2020, Byrd said.

Late in 2019, the terminal lobby will be expanded and ticketing and baggage areas will be renovated.

All concourse renovations are expected to be complete by late 2020.

Travelers are having to navigate around work zones while the renovations take place. “We are doing our best to make it look presentable, but it is a construction site,” Christine said.

Cope: 704-358-5926; @cassielcope
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