Travel Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Information for travelers about Coronavirus

An outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first detected in China and has now been detected in more than 125 countries, including the United States. The federal government has declared a public health emergency for the U.S. and established a task force dedicated to addressing this rapidly evolving situation. At this time, most people in the United States have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily in airplanes and the risk of infection while traveling by air is low. CDC suggests that travelers avoid contact with sick passengers and wash their hands often. Symptoms may appear 2 – 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The agency does not recommend that people who are not sick wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus.

How you can stay healthy

Public health experts recommend good personal hygiene as the best way to prevent illness, including:

  • Washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throwing the tissue in the trash and washing your hands.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick and staying home when you are sick.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

RDU is working with public health officials at the local, state and federal levels, along with Airports Council International, the trade association for airports around the country, on best practices associated with the coronavirus. We are tracking the latest information from public health experts and continue to stay apprised of the latest developments regarding the spread of the virus.

Travel advisories are in place for countries experiencing outbreaks of the coronavirus. If you are planning to travel, check with your airline with any questions about your itinerary. Airline contact information and travel alerts can be found via the “Resources” section of this page.

This page will be updated with new information and relevant resources as they become available.


April 8

We’ve fielded questions regarding the airport’s role in conducting health screenings in our facilities, as well as potential travel restrictions from areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal, state and local entities have the authority to issue directives regarding health screenings at airports and travel restrictions from specific areas. The Federal Aviation Administration has provided guidance for public entities to consider all essential aeronautical services, such as scheduled or unscheduled passenger and cargo operations.

Public health experts determine where screenings are necessary, define the screening protocols and require that public health officials, not airport personnel, conduct the screenings. There is no directive at this time for health screenings to be conducted at RDU.

April 3

*This post has been redacted to remove TSA passenger screening data, which is considered sensitive security information.

Passenger traffic at RDU remains low as airlines cancel flights and adjust schedules amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Airline schedule changes have decreased the number of non-stop destinations RDU serves. Prior to April 2020, RDU had service to 57 non-stop destinations, including five international markets. RDU now offers non-stop service to 36 destinations with no international flights. We anticipate further cuts in the coming weeks as airlines continue to focus on service to major airport hubs or large urban centers.

It is difficult to predict when the industry will recover and what lasting impacts coronavirus will have on air travel. RDU will continue to monitor air service trends and work to ensure RDU’s service map meets the region’s aviation needs.

March 27

Global Health Crisis Continues to Impact Air Travel

*This post has been redacted to remove TSA passenger screening data, which is considered sensitive security information.

RDU continues to track numerous business metrics in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its global impact on commercial air traffic.

Given the dramatic reduction in passenger traffic, the likelihood that passenger levels will continue to drop is limited unless there is a complete stop of domestic air service, which is not anticipated at this time.

March 27

RDU Considered Essential Business, Remains Open

More than a dozen stay-at-home orders have been issued in North Carolina with more expected as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise. These orders place restrictions on movement by the public, limit public gatherings and require many businesses to close.

Stay-at-home orders exempt businesses that provide “essential services” and critical infrastructure, including airports. This means RDU will remain open and ready to assist customers and the community-at-large throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined that the operation and maintenance of airports is so vital that ceasing operations would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety. Airports are part of the national infrastructure that allows for the movement of emergency supplies and personnel, as well as other cargo.

While the airport remains open, some flights have been canceled or delayed. Travelers should check with their airline for the latest flight status before coming to the airport. You can find airline info on this page in the sidebar. RDU has consolidated its parking operations, and guests planning to park at the airport should proceed directly to the parking garage.

You can continue to find the latest information on the airport’s response to COVID-19 at and by following RDU on Facebook and Twitter.

Find previous COVID-19 updates here.