The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority’s Board of Directors received an update Thursday about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel at RDU.
March passenger traffic was down nearly 52% when compared to March 2019 as public health officials discouraged discretionary travel and airlines slashed operations. Only 535,487 passengers traveled through RDU last month. Traffic to date has settled at approximately 96 percent below 2019 levels, which is consistent with declines reported by other airports in the U.S.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on passenger traffic has reduced revenue for airports to levels that are unprecedented and unsustainable,” said Michael J. Landguth, president & CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “RDU continues to identify cost savings to help the airport remain financially stable and able to adapt to the industry’s rapidly changing dynamics.”
Airlines have reduced scheduled flights for June, but their summer and fall schedules remain relatively unaffected. The airlines continue to make near-term adjustments while leaving longer-term schedules unchanged due to the unpredictable economic environment.
CARES Act Funding: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) was recently signed into law to offer relief to airports. The act provides $10 billion in new funds for all airports that are considered part of the national airport system. RDU will receive $49.5 million in CARES Act funds, all of which will be used to help pay for debt service, salaries and benefits. Under the CARES program, airports must maintain 90 percent of their workforce – after making adjustments for retirements or voluntary separations – through the end of 2020.
RDU Reaches Beverage Rights Agreement: The Airport Authority approved a beverage services and sponsorship agreement with Raleigh-based Pepsi Bottling Ventures (PBV). Under the 10-year agreement, PBV becomes RDU’s semi-exclusive provider of all non-alcoholic and non-brewed beverages, including soft drinks, bottled and canned waters and more. The agreement is expected to generate between $8.6 million and $14.3 million in direct funding to the Authority after rebates paid on beverages sold at the airport.