Charlotte Douglas passenger numbers rise, but flights fall

The number of passengers flying to and from Charlotte Douglas International Airport was up 2.5 percent through April, the airport said Friday, driven by rising numbers of international and domestic passengers.

During the first four months of the year, 14.1 million travelers used Charlotte Douglas. The number of international travelers rose faster, with a 4.4 percent increase through April bringing the total to 877,316.

At the same time, the number of landings and departures fell almost 4 percent through April, to 176,070. The airport said that since US Airways and American Airlines merged in December, the combined carrier has started using larger planes for many of its operations. That means the number of passengers can increase even while the total number of flights decreases, as smaller regional jets are shifted out in favor of bigger ones.

The airline also canceled thousands of flights during an unusual winter storm in February.

Charlotte Douglas is American’s second-busiest hub, after Dallas/Fort Worth. The carrier operates more than 90 percent of the airport’s 700 or so daily flights.