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The Overlook at Charlotte Douglas International Airport opens Friday

After closing in 2022 for construction, guests can enjoy a new overlook and amenities.

A military jet parked next to a a building under construction at a public area.

At the new overlook, guests can get up-close to a retired military fighter jet, an F-4 Phantom II.

Photo by CLTtoday

Two years and several construction projects have led to this moment: The overlook at Charlotte Douglas International Airport is now open to the public.

“This is quite an improvement over the [previous] overlook,” Stuart Hair, Director of Community Engagement, said while laughing.

The permanent, 600,000-sqft area features something for all ages including: interactive displays, a retired military fighter jet, the “Aviators” playground, a memorial to US Air Flight 1016, food truck spaces, restrooms, and unparalleled views of aircraft departing and arriving at CLT.

CLTtoday_Airport overlook playground_June 2024

There are two aviation-themed playgrounds ready to keep young aviators moving + captivating views of aircraft arriving at CLT.

Photo by CLTtoday

“We worked diligently to create a place that people of all ages will enjoy,” said Jack Christine, CLT’s Chief Infrastructure Officer. “This space showcases many displays and features that will educate, inspire, and create lasting memories.”

The $8 million overlook is part of Destination CLT, a $4 billion capital investment to enhance the airport and its amenities. The North End-Around Taxiway phase of the project encompassed the relocation of the overlook, along with upgrades to Runway 18C/36C.

The new overlook is more than a viewing area — it’s a destination made to teach and inspire young aviators.

“Giving the opportunity for kids to see the airplanes while they’re out here having fun, that’s a good thing for us to do,” said Christine. “It’s inspiring, for some of them to say, ‘Hey, you know, I could do that.’ We’re excited to have that opportunity here.”

An American Airlines plane starting to land on the runway.

Watch planes land on the runways surrounding the overlook at Charlotte Douglas.

Photo by CLTtoday

This is the airport’s fifth dedicated overlook since 1937. The most recent location closed on Oct. 3, 2022. “We knew from the very beginning that having a community amenity like the overlook was going to be important to the airport, to us, and the community.” said Christine.

Enough delays. The airport overlook is located at 5130 Airport Overlook Dr. It’s open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and admission is free. It’s the latest airport attraction to open following the Sullenberger Aviation Museum.

Pro tip: When you turn on to Old Dowd Road, drive until you see the blue ‘Airport Overlook’ sign.

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