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American Airlines celebrates 40 years at Charlotte airport

It started in 1982 when the doors to a new terminal opened at the airport, ushering in a new era of growth for American Airline's legacy carrier Piedmont Airlines.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Thousands of people celebrated Charlotte Douglas International Airport Monday, some of whom didn't know why until they passed by the event.

Senator Thom Tillis, U.S. Representatives Alma Adams and Dan Bishop joined state and local leaders to take part in a celebration of American Airlines being a part of the airport for 40 years.

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It started back in 1982 when the doors to a new terminal at the airport opened, ushering in a new era of growth for American Airlines' legacy carrier Piedmont Airlines

Several mergers later, America's Charlotte hub has grown to become the second-largest across its global network connecting CLT to the world, while serving as an economic engine for the Carolinas.

The growth of American Airlines at Charlotte Douglas International Airport has helped propel it to where it is today. The airport was recently ranked the fifth busiest airport worldwide for arrivals and departures and sixth busiest for passenger traffic, according to the Airports Council International 2021 preliminary rankings. 

Hailey Gentry, aviation director at CLT, said Charlotte Douglas had 25 gates, 161 daily departures, and served about 3 million passengers a year back in 1982. Currently, the airport has 115 gates, 647 departures, and serves about 3 million passengers every month. 

“If the past 40 years are any indication," Gentry said, "the sky’s the limit.”

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On Monday, local and state leaders joined airport officials In recognition of this milestone. The event provided a look back at the history of American Airlines' heritage brands while celebrating the hub's continued impact on the growth and development of the region. 

Contact Richard DeVayne at rdevayne@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Contact Kendall Morris at kmorris2@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

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