Passengers will begin using the expanded Concourse A at Charlotte Douglas International Airport next week. That word came Wednesday night as airport officials showed off the facility at a grand opening for airport staff, elected officials and other local leaders.
Including the building and expanded tarmac around it, the project cost $200 million. It adds nine gates for five airlines: United, Southwest, JetBlue, Frontier and Air Canada.
"All of the gates are spoken for. It will begin opening on July the 18th and then over the next three evenings...the new carriers will be brought on in succession over three evenings," said city Aviation Director Brent Cagle.
The new gates bring the airport's total to more than 100. Cagle says the added capacity will allow the five airlines to add new flights.
The new terminal has new food and drink options including Jamba Juice and NoDa Brewing. The nine gates have more than 1,000 seats, each equipped with power outlets and USB ports. There are computer controlled windows that tint automatically when it's sunny.
The terminal also has what's been called the world's largest data-driven public art piece - "Interconnected" by Turkish-American artist Refik Anadol. It's a series of digital screens with abstract images that change according to data fed from airport systems, including air traffic, baggage handling and parking and shuttle bus movements.
The expansion is the first phase of $2.5 billion in airport improvements planned over the next five years. Work has already begun on a major renovation of Concourse B. Still to come are overhauls of the rest of Concourse A, which could be finished in a year, as well as renovations in other concourses and in the main terminal.
Destination CLT information on the airport website