July Sets New Pandemic Travel Record at RDU

RDU Restarts Construction on Two New Security Checkpoint Lanes:

The recovery continued at a robust pace at RDU in July, with nearly 968,000 passengers traveling through the airport during the month – a nine percent increase over June 2021 and a 363 percent increase over July 2020. Passenger traffic grew steadily for the seventh straight month since the pandemic began and has now recovered to 72% of July 2019 levels.

“July is the peak of RDU’s busy summer season and leisure travelers are fueling a recovery that is unfolding faster than the industry expected,” said Michael Landguth, president & CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “With students going back to school in August, the increase in business travel that traditionally begins in September will become even more critical to the airport’s success.”

July is expected to be the busiest month at RDU until at least December because there is typically less leisure travel in the fall. Corporate travel at RDU historically increases after Labor Day, offsetting loses in leisure traffic. Yet less business travelers are expected to return this year, potentially stunting the growth trends RDU has experienced throughout the year.

Airport Mask Mandate: TSA is extending its mask mandate amid concerns about the increased spread of the Delta variant and at the direction of the CDC. The updated security directive extends the face covering requirement inside airports and onboard commercial aircraft until Jan. 18, 2022.

TSA Checkpoint Expansion: The Authority is restarting the construction of two additional security lanes at the TSA security checkpoint in Terminal 2. The project, which was put on hold during steep declines in passenger traffic last year, will expand the checkpoint from 12 to 14 lanes. The new lanes are expected to open in mid-summer of 2022 during the peak travel season.

N.C. Supreme Court Ruling: North Carolina’s highest court has ruled in favor of the Airport Authority and against plaintiffs who are opposed to RDU leasing airport property. The N.C. Supreme Court announced Friday, Aug. 13 that it will not review a lawsuit filed against the Authority by plaintiffs who tried to stop the expansion of an existing quarry on airport property. The Authority’s land-lease agreement with Wake Stone is expected to generate more than $24 million for critical airport projects. In deciding not to review the case, the N.C. Supreme Court sided with a Wake County Superior Court judge and a three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals, who ruled in favor of the Airport Authority. The decision final and there is no opportunity for the plaintiffs to appeal.