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Charlotte-Douglas Airport (CLT) Expansion


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You can convert other existing concourses into more commuter friendly points.

CLT doesn't need to extend concourse E if US Air is going to cut service, which is likely.

Actually they can't....All the other gates in the other concourses are being used for mainline service....the need for more RJ/Commuter gates is NOW.

Granted in the future USAir may cut back on mainline service to Charlotte...however USAir has long term leases on most of it's gates...so they dictate what happens at their gates in the other concourses.

Councourse E is completely controlled by the city....so if USAir pulls out tomorrow, then Concourse E can be used by another airline.

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Well, the airport is building that third runway, adding gates, and building a new parking deck. The message seems loud and clear. Charlotte/Douglas is going bigtime, with or without US Airways. the Airport management seem to know what they're doing, so I'm sure they have everything worked out should US Airways fold.

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I think that the 3rd Runway and expansion of Concourse E is definately needed and the financials surrounding it are very sound. This is not going to be a CityFair or Harris Blvd even if USAirways folds tomorrow. All the airlines serving the airport have signed off on these new projects as it will cut their cost of operating at CLT by $30M per year. These new projects are being funded by the PCF, and becasue of this, the airport will actually be able to decrease its rent rates to the airlines, thereby making themselves even more attractive to low cost carriers in the event USAir goes under.

And anyone who has recently parked at Charlotte Douglas knows that it needs more parking. On a regular basis all the parking lots fill up at the airport, and parking demand is only going to increase as our population increases and if/when low fare carriers come here then local passenger traffic will increase and thereby requireing even more parking.

I think the people running CLT know what they are doing, and I think these projects are warranted no matter what happens to USAirways.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a quote from the US Airways Update, an employee newsletter, that was posted at airliners.net. I seems the plan is to keep CLT a hub and possibly increase domestic and international flights.


Under the plan, Charlotte
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Thanks for the info Travis.  I thought that I would post this link of the pdf of the entire news letter.  One of the more interesting things is that it states its cost/seat mile is still significantly higher than any other Airline in the country.

Of course if the airline doesn't make it, and I would say it there is a 50/50 chance it won't, then there will be pleanty of empty gates in Charlotte.

The only airline I know of that has higher costs than US Airways is the new Independence Air/ACA whose CASM (cost per available seat mile) is around $.22. That's about twice US Airways' costs ($.10).

It's very true that they may not make it, but at least, as things stand now, they don't have any plans to reduce flights at CLT. Even if US Airways does stop operating given CLT's extremely low cost for airlines to operate there I can't help but think that some airline would make at least a focus operation.

Here are the costs for some random airports from Leigh Fisher Associates, an aviation consulting firm, via the Pittsburgh Business Times:

Cost per boarding passenger:

DEN - ~$10.00

PHL - $7.55

PIT - $7.26 (~$9 according to US Airways)

STL - $4.06

CVG - $3.53

CLT - $1.30

Charlotte's costs will get a little cheaper too since the airport is starting a Passenger Facilities Charge of $3 to pay for the expansion and to reduce airline costs.

I'm trying to be an optimist about the whole situation, but US Airways is making it hard. ;)

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Long term, CLT will be fine. Even if US Airways does pack up and leave eventually, those gates will quickly be filled. It's a great facility that is very affordable and in a great geographic location. Yes, there may be a period coming up when US Airways finally does fold and the airport/city will feel its temporary loss, but I think we will recover very quickly.

But just like Travis, I'm an optimist. ;)

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You're presuming that no other airline would be interested in stepping in, and that's a bad presumption to make, considering Charlotte's affordability and location. If US Airways leaves, some other airline will take their place, sooner than later.

Again, that's me, the optimist.

And of course, even that is presuming that the sky will fall on US Airways. I think we all assume that they'll eventually fold, but who knows, maybe they'll pull through. I don't see it, but hey, you never know. If they do pull through, then Charlotte will be all the better off. We were their largest hub to start, and now they've clearly taken steps to make CLT an even more integral part of their system.

More flights out of Charlotte?

If a US Airways makeover works, area passengers would see more direct flights and cheaper tickets


Charlotte passengers should benefit if US Airways manages to remake itself as a low-fare airline with more point-to-point service and less emphasis on connecting flights. Not only would the airline gradually adopt lower fares here, it also would offer more flights.

Most of the talk about the airline's latest restructuring plan has focused on its operations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Pittsburgh International Airport is losing its hub, meaning few passengers will connect there.

At Philadelphia International Airport, US Airways will focus less on connecting traffic because it believes low fares will generate more local traffic. Fares have been falling rapidly in Philadelphia because low-fare king Southwest Airlines began flying there May 9.

US Airways' operations at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, already its largest hub, will change, too. While connecting traffic becomes less important in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, "US Airways will grow Charlotte and make it our primary connecting operation," the airline said last week in an employee newsletter.

As for fares, airline executives told union leaders this month that increasing competition from low-fare carriers means most U.S. markets will see lower fares by 2007. From conversations I've had with airline officials, it seems their goal is to move faster than that in Charlotte -- home of the highest fares in the nation -- although they have not laid out a timetable.

The number of Charlotte flights would grow for two reasons. US Airways wants to increase its profitable Caribbean flying, which operates primarily from Charlotte. The airline also says it will move some Pittsburgh flights to either Charlotte or Philadelphia. That could mean more flights from Charlotte to the West Coast or to smaller cities whose passengers now connect through Pittsburgh.

The plan could mean that US Airways will increase the number of "banks" at the Charlotte hub, and make each bank smaller. In airline parlance, banks are the clusters of flights that make up a hub system. In a bank, dozens of flights arrive and depart in a narrow timeframe, usually around an hour, allowing passengers to connect between flights.

Currently, the airline operates eight banks in Charlotte, starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 9:55 p.m. In each bank, an average of 58 flights arrives and departs.

Charlotte Aviation Director Jerry Orr said the airline may well move to 10 banks, the number it operated two years ago. "You want as many banks as you can squeeze in," he said. "If you jam the banks closer together, it's more efficient. You can keep the airplanes in the air more and you get more productivity out of the ground people."

For local passengers, more banks could mean even more frequent flights to key destinations such as New York La Guardia and Washington National airports. But Orr said there's a downside: With banks jammed closer together, runways are constantly in use, allowing less margin to accommodate late planes and increasing the chance of delays or cancellations.

Here are plans for US Airways' other key cities:

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Actually in the USAir newletter link posted above, it says that O&D traffic represents only 17% (I think) of its traffic in Charlotte. Presumably if they disappear and no other airline establishes a hub here, Charlotte will be reduced to possibly having only one active terminal, and that one would not be filled. The other 4 terminals would be empty.

How did you get the 17% number? I am not finding it in the Update Newsletter.

Also...if USAirways does completely shutdown, then other carriers would pick up the some of the slack. I would say that at the very least one should expect something along the lines of RDU...which in the number of flights and passenger volume is roughly half the size of CLT. So worst case scenario I would see 2.5 of the 5 concourses at CLT become empty if USAir leaves.

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For such a negative situation, the news for Charlotte always seems to be good...for now. This article is an example. You gotta think that US Airways feels at least somewhat confident that they'll be around if they're making such an expensive move like this...

US Airways moving 130 jobs to Charlotte

Crew training to be consolidated here


Staff Writer

US Airways said Wednesday it will consolidate its crew training in Charlotte, bringing about 130 positions from Pittsburgh in another indication that Charlotte's importance to the airline is growing at Pittsburgh's expense.

The change, expected to be concluded within six months, will also bring three flight simulators to a crew training center at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. The airline expects to save about $3 million a year.

Jerry Orr, aviation director at Charlotte/Douglas, said that in addition to the jobs, the move means hundreds of visits a year by pilots and flight attendants who will come to train, stay in hotels and eat at local restaurants. "There's a considerable economic impact," he said.

Orr said the center, which the airport leases to the airline, was expanded in 1999 at a cost of $13 million, in anticipation of such a move. The airline's Pittsburgh training is conducted largely in two leased, former schools. "We knew it makes sense to have all your training in one place," Orr said.

The workers expected to move to Charlotte include flight attendant trainers, a few dozen pilots and 44 flight training instructors.

While the change is positive for Charlotte, it is "devastating" for Pittsburgh and flight training instructors who will have to move to keep their jobs, said Bill Gray, president of Transport Workers Union Local 547, which represents the instructors.

"A lot of our employees are original Pittsburgh residents who grew up here and have family here and are going to be torn apart by this news," Gray said.

Instructors range in age from the mid 30s to their 60s and earn about $50,000 to $75,000 annually, he said. Many have children in school.

US Airways has its busiest hub in Charlotte, where it employs about 5,739 workers. The airline said last month that under its proposed restructuring plan, Charlotte would become its "primary connecting operation," while Pittsburgh would lose its hub status. A hub, which collects passengers from around the country, offers far more nonstop service than a typical airport.

Charlotte has 467 daily departures; Pittsburgh has 379. Charlotte's total will likely grow as the airline builds Caribbean flights and moves some connecting flights from Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, which has lost 170 daily departures since the Sept. 11 attacks, is expected to lose more.

Troubled US Airways has said it could file for bankruptcy protection a second time if it fails to secure cost savings from all of its unions. The airline's restructuring plan foresees lower fares across US Airways' system, more point-to-point flying as well as labor-cost reductions of $800 million annually.

US Airways is negotiating with its pilots for lower costs, but so far none of its other employee unions has agreed to talk.

Dave Butterfield, a spokesman for the US Airways chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, said the training center expansion will bring high-paying pilot jobs, some paying as much as $150,000 annually.

The move is encouraging, he said, because US Airways executives "wouldn't be spending the money to move this down here unless they thought the airline was going to be around."

Simulators, costing about $12 million to $16 million each, are large boxes mounted on springs that duplicate the inside of a cockpit and mimic a plane's response to a pilot's maneuvers.

When the move is completed, the Charlotte training center will house seven simulators, with additional space for three regional jet simulators.

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