It was a turbulent year at Raleigh-Durham International Airport as the demand for air travel plunged to unprecedented lows amid the global health crisis. The Airport Authority responded quickly by adopting a survival budget designed to keep the lights on during the pandemic, cutting spending by nearly half and deferring $96 million in construction projects. But it was not just RDU that rose to the challenge.
This year of upheaval and change has shown me that by working together, the Research Triangle region can face adversity with strength, determination and a sense of optimism for the future. Each day, RDU and the larger community adapted to our changing environment and faced extraordinary challenges with courage and resolve.
I extend my gratitude to the airport and airline workers, local, state and federal elected officials, our business partners, the traveling public and many others for putting RDU on the runway to recovery. The outpouring of support – from public health professionals to industry experts – has been humbling and invaluable. I also offer my sincere appreciation to our Board members and our owning bodies– the cities of Raleigh and Durham and the counties of Wake and Durham – for standing by RDU in its time of need.
I want to thank our state and federal legislators for obtaining critical funding that kept the airport running during the downturn in air travel. In this time of depressed airport revenues, state and federal grants account for approximately 45% of RDU’s survival budget. Without those grants, RDU would have faced a dire financial situation.
You can read more about 2020: A Year of Change at RDU in our Newsroom.
A flourishing airport is vital to the Triangle’s business climate, supports our region’s quality of life and connects our community to the people and places that matter most. I am optimistic about the future of aviation and believe RDU is well positioned to aid in the region’s economic recovery thanks to the support of our community. On behalf of everyone at the airport, I express my sincere gratitude for joining us on this journey.
I wish you the very best in 2021.
President & CEO, Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority