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'We're moving forward in a good direction' | Busy start to airport travel season

The number of people visiting the airport will be near pre-pandemic levels this weekend.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Welcome back. That was the message at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Tuesday. An estimated 300,000 people will travel through Charlotte from Thursday to Monday.

So far in 2021, 6 million people have come through the Queen City. 

"Please be patient," said Jack Christine, chief operating officer for Charlotte Douglas. "It's going to be a challenging summer as we ramp back up."

New for some this weekend: passengers local to the area are encouraged to book their parking online for Curbside Valet, the Hourly Deck, Long Term Lot 1 and Daily West Deck by visiting www.cltairport.com. People can also call ahead: 704 359-5555. 

Masks are still required to fly. Airport officials say they will provide masks for anyone who fails to wear one. 

RELATED: Airline offers 1 year of free flights to get people vaccinated

"While the CDC guidance is clear that fully vaccinated people are safe to travel, the federal government still requires the traveling public to wear a mask," said Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security.  "Wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation." 

Airport officials also highlighted to WCNC several safety measures in place including an advanced air cleaning system using bipolar ionization, UV-C Lights, and hand sanitizing stations located throughout the terminal. 

WCNC found passengers feel safe, and are glad to be flying again. 

"It feels great," said Dave Greenwald, who was going to visit a friend. "I think everything should open back up."

"I think it shows that we're moving forward in a good direction," added passenger Janee Solomon.

And for those looking for a job, the airport is also hiring. Charlotte Douglas needs more bus drivers, and the TSA needs nearly 100 more agents. Jobs can be found by visiting the airport's website.

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