August capped off the busy summer travel season at RDU with 1,075,240 million passengers flying through the airport, an increase of 22% over August 2021. Passenger traffic for the year is at 78% of 2019 levels, an indication leisure travel slowed as summer ended.
“August is the last month of the busy summer travel season when families take their final summer vacations and kids get ready for school,” Airport Authority President and CEO Michael Landguth said. “We anticipated travel to slow moving into the fall months, when we expect fewer people to fly until traffic picks back up over the Thanksgiving and winter holidays.”
Nonstop Destinations: November will be a busy month for new and returning flights at RDU. The airport will add another international destination when direct flights to Cancun resume on American Airlines. Nonstop flights from RDU to the Bahamas will take off in November when Bahamasair begins service to Freeport, Grand Bahama with connections to Nassau. Bahamasair will become RDU’s 14th airline. Avelo Airlines is also adding a new destination, with service to Fort Myers on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Southwest will begin offering service to Kansas City during the same month, adding another new nonstop destination at RDU.
Runway Preservation: Work resumed this month and will continue into December on the preservation of 5L/23R, RDU’s primary runway. The multi-year preservation project is critical to the airport’s future and is one its most important capital projects. The 10,000-foot concrete runway was built in the mid-1980’s and now requires regular removal and replacement of deteriorating concrete slabs to allow large international aircraft and heavy cargo planes to continue using it. The runway will be closed at least five days a week, from 9:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. the following day, while crews demolish, remove and pour new concrete in 625 square-foot slabs. RDU is working with the Federal Aviation Administration for approval to replace 5L/23R.
Terminal 2 Curb Closure: For the next few months, the departure level at Terminal 2 will be closed at night for maintenance. The far-right lane of John Brantley Boulevard approaching the upper level departures curb will also be closed nightly from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. During the closures, traffic for both arrivals and departures will be directed to the bottom level. Signs and message boards are placed along John Brantley Boulevard between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 to notify drivers about the lane closure. The pedestrian crosswalk located outside the upper level will remain open at all times for access to the parking deck. The work is expected to be completed before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Airport Blvd. Construction: Ramp closures began last week as part of an N.C. DOT project to improve the interchange at Airport Boulevard and Interstate 40. Crews are rebuilding the eastbound and westbound ramps to tie into the new diverging diamond interchange that is under construction. Drivers should be mindful of crews at work into December and follow detour signs.