2022: Beyond the Recovery

RDU rang in 2022 with sustained increases in passenger traffic, signaling the New Year would replace a slow but steady recovery with rapid growth and expansion. RDU continued to add new domestic and international destinations and four new airlines came on board. Construction could be seen across campus as projects that had been on hold came to life. RDU invested in more technology to provide guests with a world-class experience and landed in the Top Five again on the J.D. Power list for Airport Customer Satisfaction.

Connecting People and Places

  • Frontier Airlines launched or resumed flights between RDU and eight destinations, including one new direct destination.
  • Icelandair launched direct service to Reykjavik, the first new international route added at RDU since 2019. The route was so successful, the airline extended the season by two months and increased the route’s frequency.
  • Avelo Airlines launched service and announced it will add 50 jobs and six new nonstop flights.
  • American Airlines restarted nonstop service to London, a route that was one of the Triangle’s most frequented overseas destinations.
  • Air Canada resumed nonstop flights to Montreal, connecting travelers with the French flavor of Quebec.
  • Delta Air Lines resumed its transatlantic route to Paris and announced it will expand to daily service on a larger aircraft.
  • Bahamasair launched a flight to Freeport, Grand Bahama – RDU’s seventh international destination.
  • Breeze Airways announced it will begin flying at RDU in 2023 with five destinations.
  • RDU serves 43 nonstop destinations and is optimistic about adding more routes early next year, with a projected total of at least 61 by spring 2023.

Building for the Future

  • The Airport Authority improved two major roadways with the rehabilitation of International Drive and National Guard Drive, enhancing the customer experience for guests as they navigate the airport campus.
  • Crews demolished and replaced 100 slabs of concrete on Runway 5L/23R and the adjacent taxiway in 2022. The 10,000-foot primary runway requires maintenance when the slabs show signs of wear. The runway is closed for 20 hours during the process, allowing it time to dry and reopen to air traffic.
  • The Authority is converting the former West General Aviation Apron near Terminal 2 to a Remain Overnight parking area for commercial aircraft. The West RON will provide additional parking capacity for overnight aircraft that typically depart early each morning.
  • Rehabilitation is nearing completion on the north end of Taxiway B, a project that was paused in 2020 and restarted in 2022.
  • The Authority opened two new security checkpoint lanes in Terminal 2 to accommodate the increasing number of passengers flying through the airport, bringing the total to 14 lanes.
  • The Authority has initiated the final design for a significant expansion of Park Economy 3 needed to accommodate increasing passenger traffic and enable future Vision 2040 projects.

World-Class Technology

  • RDU opened a first-of-its-kind ghost kitchen that lets guests order from multiple restaurants in one seamless transaction and pick up orders from a code-controlled locker.
  • RDU ordered four additional zero-emission shuttle buses, doubling its current fleet. RDU was the first public body in the Research Triangle region to use electric buses and the transition helps the airport reduce fleet emissions.
  • RDU tested an eCommerce system that will allow travelers to make hotel and rental car reservations, take advantage of special offers and enjoy a rewards program while seamlessly purchasing parking, food and beverage, retail and flights at rdu.com.

Awards & Accolades

  • RDU was ranked one of the top five large airports for customer satisfaction in the 2022 J.D. Power North America Airport Satisfaction Study.
  • Fitch Ratings and Moody’s affirmed the Airport Authority’s ‘AA-’ and Aa3 rating respectively, citing careful financial management and a strong recovery in passenger traffic.
  • Airports Council International named RDU’s ghost kitchen the best Customer Experience and Technology Innovation for a large airport in North America.
  • RDU and the Triangle Takeoff Coalition earned a Silver ADDY award recognizing creative excellence for the 2021 “Carry On” advertising campaign.

Strengthening our Community

  • RDU launched the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program to improve the travel experience for guests with non-visible disabilities such as autism or dementia. The Sunflower Program offers free sunflower products to airport workers and guests that discreetly indicate the wearer may need extra assistance or time when traveling through the airport.
  • The Triangle Takeoff Coalition, an alliance of high-profile companies and universities, launched the “Make Your Connection” campaign to support the growing return to air travel and regional economic prosperity.
  • RDU hosted the 2022 Plane Pull and helped raise more than $130,000 for Special Olympics athletes in our community, with teams competing at pulling a 30,000-pound plane.
  • The Authority developed a new Strategic Plan to position the airport for success as it recovers from the pandemic and prepares for future growth. The Plan provides the strategic direction, goals and objectives for the Authority and Raleigh-Durham International Airport over the next five years.