American Airlines Will Expand Its Hub in Charlotte
American Airlines is planning an expansion of its hub at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT), based on information provided in its earnings call this week.
American opened four new gates in Charlotte just prior to the pandemic. But the airline says it expects “to open three additional gates before the end of this year.” These gates will allow the airline to grow efficiently in its East Coast connecting hub as customers return to travel, American Airlines President Robert Isom told reporters and analysts on the call.
Charlotte will be able to handle over 700 American daily departures. The three new gates at CLT will be regional ones in Concourse E. They are part of the airport’s ongoing capital improvement plan. The $50.5 million project is expected to be complete by next spring. adding 34,000 square feet on the north end of the concourse.
Despite a net loss of $1.1 billion for the second quarter for American Airlines, industry observers agree air travel is recovering significantly from the pandemic. In fact TSA checkpoint travel numbers are getting close to pre-pandemic levels. During the 4th of July weekend, we saw more people traveling than back in 2019.
American Airlines has brought back more than 3,000 employees from leave during the coronavirus pandemic and has already hired nearly 3,500 new employees so far this year. American, in particular, plans to hire an additional 350 pilots this year, and more than 1,000 pilots and 800 flight attendants in 2022, Isom said.