• Charlotte airport looks to upgrade lightning detection system

    By: Linzi Sheldon


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The head of Charlotte Douglas International Airport wants a major overhaul of the airport's lightning detection system.

    Aviation Director Jerry Orr said it would give staff better information and allow employees to work more efficiently while cutting down delays for passengers.

    The system was purchased 15 years ago and had a minor upgrade about five years ago.

    Travelers who have been caught in storm-related delays before said they're glad to hear about anything that might cut back on wait times.

    "It's all negative," Jill Carr said. "It's all bad. Anything that can cut down on that time, on that waiting line, is good."

    Orr said an upgraded system would more accurately monitor lightning strikes, and it would closely track the potential for lightning as a storm draws closer.

    That, Orr said, would allow them to keep employees working and passengers moving as long as possible while staying safe.

    They could get back to work faster, too.

    "It means that you're not holding people on an airplane longer than is necessary, and you're not delaying flights longer than is necessary," Orr said.

    The system would cost $94,707.

    Airport officials would replace two sensors and upgrade workstations. The system is part of the airport's move to revamp its operations control room.

    Travelers said upgrading makes sense.

    Orr will ask City Council for its approval April 22.

    Once council approves and a contract is signed, officials expect the system to be installed in about 60 to 90 days -- just in time summer thunderstorms.

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