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North Carolina Airports

Author: Amelia Wright

How Many Airports are There in North Carolina?

While the total number of airports in North Carolina is 275, only 10 of them provide the scheduled flight service. Four airports are considered major and have international status (currently, only CLT operates foreign flights). The list of the major commercial airports in North Carolina is as follows:

  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). 27,205,082 passengers used the airport facilities in 2020 and flew to and from the airport with 15 airlines (both foreign and US ones).
  • Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO). In 2020, 378,313 travelers landed and departed from the airport. 5 airlines operate at the airport currently.
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). 4,883,913 passengers were served by 11 airlines in 2020.
  • Wilmington International Airport (ILM). In 2020, three airlines transported 237,676 passengers to and from ILM.

Some of the North Carolina regional airports are as big and popular as international ones. For example, the passenger traffic at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) was 704,972 travelers in 2020. There’s also a long list of smaller airports in NC that aren’t listed in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) but are open to the public. Many airports are also used by emergency services and the military.

Aviation Industry in North Carolina

Since the Wright Brothers’ first kite glider took to the air, aviation has been a top priority for the state of North Carolina. The state constantly develops the airports’ infrastructure and funds new projects. Apart from international and regional public airports, there are 30 private airfields opened to the public. 80% of all airports in North Carolina funded by the state budget have runways of 5,000 feet or longer.
The key factors for the aviation development in the region go as follows:

  • quickly growing manufacturing sector (aviation and space);
  • one of the largest in the US military workforce;
  • an array of research universities specialized in math, engineering, science, and technology;
  • the considerable economic contribution of North Carolina airports to the state welfare ($52 billion annual impact, which makes about 9% of the NC gross domestic product);
  • significant employment impact (over 300,000 jobs in the state belong to aviation).

Drone Integration Program

The FAA-initiated Drone Integration Pilot Program is implemented in North Carolina. The program aims to integrate drones into the state’s aviation system. The project is coordinated by the Precision Hawk company with its headquarters in Raleigh. The company supplies drones and provides remote pilot services to other enterprises including governmental institutions. The company’s CEO Michael Chasen was appointed a chairman of the Drone Advisory Committee at FAA in 2020.
Currently, drones perform the following operations in North Carolina airports and other in-state locations:

  • food and medical goods delivery;
  • site inspection;
  • emergency search.