Memorial Day Traffic Expected to Set a Pandemic Record

Park Economy 3 Opening to Accommodate Passenger Increase

RDU estimates that more than 221,000 travelers will fly through the airport over the week ending with Memorial Day, potentially setting a new pandemic record for passenger traffic. The Authority is preparing to open Economy 3 as soon as this week, to ensure the airport has enough parking available for the busy travel weekend.

“Leisure travel is leading the recovery, with pandemic-era records being set during holiday travel periods like Christmas, New Year’s and Easter weekend,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “We attribute the recovery at RDU to pent-up demand, the widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and updated federal guidance for air travel.”

The airport’s busiest travel days will be Thursday, May 27, Friday, May 28 and Monday, May 31 – which could see more than 31,000 total passengers each day.

RDU set pandemic records for passenger traffic in March and again in April. Throughout the recovery, RDU has seen dramatic spikes in traffic around the holidays with periods of slower but steady growth in between. Prior to the pandemic, leisure travel accounted for about 50 percent of RDU’s customer base, compared to around 80 percent today.

RDU remains a competitive market, with RDU recovering routes that were lost last year, adding nonstop domestic and international flights and welcoming Sun Country in May as the airport’s 11th airline. Leisure travel is outpacing business travel at RDU as passengers take to the skies for vacations or to visit family and friends.

Economy 3 To Reopen: In response to growing passenger volume, the Authority is accelerating its plans to reopen its largest remote parking lot, Economy 3. The Authority is preparing to open Economy 3 as soon as this week, in time for the holiday weekend.

Customers will soon be able to reserve a spot in Economy 3 online at for just $8 per day. Economy 3’s drive-up rate will be set at $10 per day. As always, customers will find the guaranteed lowest rates available for all open parking lots by booking online in advance.

Guests also have the option to park in the deck, conveniently located between the terminals. The daily maximum rate for Premiere is discounted to $16 per day for those who book online in advance at The drive-up rate is $22 per day. The drive-up rate for Central is $12 per day and only $10 when you book online in advance. RDU’s other remote lots, Express and Economy 4, remain closed.