Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT Airport), our No. 1 economic development asset, is seeing more growth and more changes than ever before-access lanes, gates, tower, electric buses, light rail extensions, bridges, highways, and more retail and hospitality alongside more logistics, intermodal, warehousing and distribution!
CLT Airport is a burgeoning aerotropolis–a metropolitan subregion whose infrastructure, land use and economy are centered on our airport. Airports have evolved as drivers of business location and urban development in the 21st century in the same way as highways did in the 20th century, railroads in the 19th century, and seaports in the 18th century.
As economies become increasingly globalized, time-sensitive and reliant on air commerce for trade in goods and services, the speed and agility aviation provides to long-distance movement of people and goods generate competitive advantages for firms and places.
In the aerotropolis model, time and cost of connectivity replace space and distance as the primary metrics shaping development, with “economies of speed” becoming as salient for the competitiveness of firms and places as economies of scale and economies of scope.
As the center of one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States, CLT Airport is taking a quantum leap forward. Its $2.5B in construction projects include a new lobby and ticketing, new gates, new terminals, new tower, new roadways, and new runways. And that’s on-site at CLT Airport.
Outside and around CLT Airport are new businesses, services, hotels, meeting facilities, logistics centers, warehouses and distribution facilities. CLT Airport’s investment is magnified and multiplied in the development of the surrounding area into a $23B economic engine for the Carolinas, which-with widened highways, new and improved bridges, and a light rail option-will seamlessly connect both Gaston and Mecklenburg counties on either side.
This, in turn, will provide easier access to more jobs and more business, expanding accessibility for the labor market and increasing economic opportunities.
There’s no doubt that CLT Airport is setting the stage for the 21st century, establishing Charlotte as a world-class city and hub of international trade.
Stuart P. Hair serves as the City of Charlotte Aviation Department Director of Economic & Community Affairs. He is responsible for planning, directing, managing and overseeing the activities and operations regarding commercial development, community engagement, real estate, and airplane noise at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. His primary duties include identifying corporations and business facilities that are targets for recruitment to locate on or near Airport and marketing the Airport to those organizations. Hair has been on the job since April 2015.
He has worked in economic development since April 2006 throughout the Charlotte region with local and state organizations. Hair is a graduate of Oklahoma University Economic Development Institute (OUEDI) and a Certified Member (CM) of American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). He holds a BA from Queens University of Charlotte and an MA from UNC Charlotte. Hair resides in Southeast Charlotte along with his wife and son.