Communities with strong transportation systems, especially airports, are tools for economic growth.

Recent developments at the Quad Cities International Airport could be jumping off points for it.

Earlier this year, the airport finished a $10 million runway project. The result is the airport now has three separate runways. They used to intersect.

It was one of a few airports across the country that had that type of setup.

Now there’s a 3,500-foot runway, another is 7,000 feet long, and the third is 10,000 feet. That’s enough to meet the needs of the air traffic coming through the Quad Cities.

A big reason for the change is safety and minimize the risk of planes running into each other at those intersection points.

Another change on the way is something passengers will see directly. American Airlines will soon offer direct service to Charlotte, North Carolina. The company announced in July the flights will start in December. That gives air passengers more options for connections to the east coast, southeast and Europe. There will be two flights a day out of the airport.

The change marks the first new destination since the short-lived service to Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C., a few years ago. It’s the farthest east you’ll be able to fly on American from the Quad Cities.

Four years ago, the airline flew to Chicago four or five times a day out of Moline. That’s down to three flights now. The national pilots’ shortage factored into that.

That focus on runway safety and the added route to Charlotte are the biggest recent developments at the airport.

Host Jim Niedelman talks about that with Quad Cities International Airport Executive Director Benjamin Leischner.

“Charlotte doesn’t get a lot of the credit that it deserves,” Leischner said. “It’s currently the third-largest single airline hub. We’re excited about the connectivity.”

To hear what else Leischner has to say, click on the video.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you.  It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.