March Traffic at RDU Increases By 90%

Board Approves New Terminal Coffee and Dining Options:

More than 937,600 passengers flew through RDU last month, an increase of 34% over the previous month and 90% compared to March 2021. Traffic for calendar year 2022 is up 107% compared to last year. The numbers were released Thursday during the monthly meeting of the Airport Authority Board.

“As passengers return to the skies in increasing numbers, their options at RDU are also growing,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “Airlines are making significant investments in the Research Triangle region by adding more flights and new destinations in time for the busy summer travel season.”

Icelandair will become RDU’s 12th airline when it launches nonstop service to Reykjavik in mid-May, marking the first new international flight at RDU since the pandemic began. RDU will also add a 13th airline in May when Avelo Airlines begins nonstop service to the New York metro region – the airport’s most popular destination.

Frontier will add eight destinations from RDU in April and May, including Islip, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; Syracuse; Newburgh, New York; Indianapolis; Detroit; Cincinnati and New Orleans. Air Canada will bring back nonstop service to Montreal in early June, signaling an uptick in international travel.

New Flavors: RDU guests will have several new coffee and dining options in the terminals soon thanks to agreements approved by the Board Thursday. Later this year, Durham-based Beyu Caffe will open in the pre-security areas of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, serving coffee, tea, smoothies and grab-and-go food. Grove Bay Crawford will open three locations in Terminal 2 late next year. Crawford’s Genuine, a casual dining bar led by five-time James Beard award nominee Scott Crawford, will open in Concourse C along with open-air kiosk Carolina Craft, serving craft beer, cocktails and light food. Black & White Coffee Roasters, founded by U.S. Barista Champions Lem Butler and Kyle Ramage, will join the Marketplace. Black & White currently operates multiple full-service coffee shops in the Triangle area.

The new concessionaires will operate under a new model intended to increase revenue for RDU and provide more opportunities to small and diverse businesses by seeking to reduce barriers for those interested in doing business at the airport. Under this model, the Authority will make the capital investment and have direct responsibility for design and construction, with a food and beverage operator responsible for management and day-to-day operations. This allows the operator to focus on providing RDU guests with high-quality food and beverage and a world-class experience, while giving the Authority greater control of the concessions program and an opportunity to invest in its success.

Parking Expansion: The Airport Authority will resume design services for the expansion of Park Economy 3. The lot offers guests one of the lowest daily parking rates and provides shuttle bus service to Terminals 1 and 2. The project will enlarge the existing lot from approximately 3,820 spaces and create an additional 8,700 spaces. The expansion of Park Economy 3 is intended to provide adequate parking to meet increased demand from airport guests.

Parking Rates: The Airport Authority will adjust rates for terminal parking and the economy lot beginning May 1. The drive-up rate for Central will be $17 a day and Premier will be $25 a day. The rate in Economy 3 will be $11 a day for drive-up parking. The new rates are lower than the maximum the Authority is permitted to charge. The terminal deck is filling up more frequently and the rate change will help RDU manage capacity while preserving a variety of options for our guests. The additional revenue will help with the growing costs of labor and construction for future airport projects, along with the $13.5 million RDU has already spent to resurface the economy lot and replace elevators and moving sidewalks in the terminal parking area.

Road Work: A major rehabilitation project on International Drive is scheduled to begin in May and continue into November. The road work will be phased by alternating closures of traffic lanes to minimize the impact on airport business partners, employees and guests. Construction will take place from the intersection of John Brantley Blvd. to Commerce Drive. Much of the work will be done during the evening and overnight hours to minimize the effects on traffic, but some short daytime delays can be expected in locations where traffic is limited to one-way.