Read the new report: Behind The Boom: The Hidden Costs of American Airlines’ Growth in Charlotte
At Charlotte Douglas International Airport, American Airlines enjoys public subsidies in the form of capital projects, payments from non-airline terminal complex revenue, and tax breaks. But as American makes billions, Charlotte residents pay a price.
As the city prepares to spend nearly $1 billion on concourse expansion projects that will benefit American Airlines, Charlotte councilmembers and state lawmakers should take a closer look at the deal the airport has with American.
Key Findings from the Executive Summary:
- Since 2015, Charlotte City Council has approved over $103 million in spending on airport projects that benefitted American Airlines more than other airlines.
- From 2016 to 2018, the City of Charlotte gave American Airlines $63.5 million of non-airline terminal complex revenue, while giving all other signatory airlines combined $9.3 million.
- Tax breaks on jet fuel that were implemented when airlines were struggling benefit American Airlines at an estimated cost of $27 million per year.
- American Airlines’ cost per enplaned passenger is only $1.26 at CLT — lower than at any of its other hubs.
- Charlotte is holding its Passenger Facility Charge at $3.00, which is $1.50 lower than all other large hub
airports in the country. Other airports have used PFC money for competition-enhancing projects.
- American dominates with 91% market share at Charlotte Douglas, the highest of any of its hubs. Charlotte
fliers pay 16% more for domestic flights than the national average, higher than any other American hub.
- American currently uses 82% of airport gates. Charlotte’s 2015 Airport Capacity Enhancement Plan projected that post 2025, American will use 88% of available gates at the airport.
- Airline catering workers working for a subcontractor and serving American Airlines in Charlotte will be paid as low as $11.00 per hour as of February 28, 2020 and must pay premiums over $500 per month for employer- provided family health insurance. A 2019 survey by UNITE HERE found that 40% of those surveyed were using public assistance to provide health insurance for themselves or their families.
- Airport concessions workers are paid as low as $9.85 at CLT, making it difficult to pay for family health insurance plans that cost hundreds of dollars including vision and dental. Only 35% of concessions workers have employer-provided health insurance.