Report warns Charlotte airport could near capacity

by: Jacqueline Fell Updated:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - There are new warnings about Charlotte-Douglas International Airport nearing capacity.

A new report illustrated that Charlotte-Douglas could be as busy at the Thanksgiving holiday weekend every day unless the airport expands.

Travelers could expect long lines, delayed planes and endless waiting. It's already a common sight at Charlotte-Douglas during this time of year.

The report by the U.S. Travel Association is saying travelers might need to get used to it.

The study found by 2021, two days each week at Charlotte-Douglas will be as busy as the day before Thanksgiving.

Every day could be just as packed by 2039.

The study found infrastructure at large hub airports, including Charlotte-Douglas is already struggling to keep up with demand.

It says expected passenger growth threatens to overwhelm the system.

"Travelers will go to where the experience is the easiest or they won't go," said Roger Dow with the U.S. Travel Association.

The Travel Association said Charlotte has made strides becoming friendlier for travelers and tourists.

It warns if hub airports don't continue to grow with demand, local economies will suffer.

"It's going to cost jobs, it's going to keep people saying, 'I'm not going to come to the U.S. anymore, it's just too much of a hassle,'" Dow said.

The report states Congress needs to commit to a long-term strategy to help airports expand.

Channel 9 talked exclusively with former Charlotte mayor, now U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

He is barred from talking about Charlotte during his first year as secretary, but he said securing federal funding for any airport is always a challenge.

"There's an awful lot of demand at some of the busiest airports across the country for these resources and we want to try to help get them put out there as quickly as we can," Foxx said.

Foxx said the new report is drawing attention to congestion and its impacts could encourage lawmakers on Capitol Hill to take action.

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