However, our load factors remain high, demonstrating that people still want to fly to and from the Research Triangle Region. Given that, we're on target to end 2009 with about 8.8 million passengers traveling through RDU.
We continue to do our part in stimulating the economy with construction continuing on the second phase of Terminal 2. Each day, hundreds of workers are making progress on the new building, which will open in 2011.
We're also taking advantage of federal stimulus funds to replace our aging airfield lighting system. Over the next year, thousands of airfield lights will be converted to newer, more energy efficient models that will save the Airport Authority money while improving safety.
While we look forward to a worldwide economic recovery, we continue to think about the future of our airport and our region's air transportation needs. Therefore, this summer, the Airport Authority Board of Directors initiated a strategic planning process with RDU's senior staff to outline the future steps for RDU's development and improvement.
Together, we will weather the current economy and be ready for new opportunities once recovery occurs.