RDU Posts Increase of 7% Over Airport’s Busiest Year:
RDU’s busiest travel season kicked off with a bustling Memorial Day weekend. Passenger traffic was up 7% over 2019 levels and 23% above 2022 levels from Friday, May 26 through Monday, May 29.
“RDU was pleased to welcome even more guests over the holiday weekend than we saw in 2019 when we broke records for passenger traffic,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “Leisure travel will fuel a busy summer season as travelers head out on long-awaited vacations and visits with family and friends.”
For the month of May, traffic was up ten percent compared to April and up 19.5 percent compared to May of last year, with 1,301,351 passengers flying through the airport.
New Flights: The number of options airport guests have when traveling through RDU continues to grow. Frontier Airlines will launch new routes this week to Chicago-Midway and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. JetBlue is also expanding, with more flights to two popular vacation destinations. Nonstop service to Orlando will fly daily beginning in November. Service between RDU and San Juan will take off on JetBlue in early July. Avelo is launching four new flights this month, with direct service to Rochester, New York; Memphis, Tennessee; Manchester, New Hampshire; and Melbourne, Florida.
Breeze CEO: The Airport Authority hosted Breeze Airways founder and CEO David Neeleman when he visited the Triangle on Wednesday. Neeleman met with elected officials, economic developers and leaders from regional, national and global businesses based in our area. He also shared why Breeze chose RDU and his views about the future of the travel industry. Breeze is one of RDU’s fastest-growing airlines and it continues to expand in the Raleigh-Durham market. Neeleman also announced Breeze will begin flying direct routes to Las Vegas and Tampa from RDU in early September.
Terminal 1 Expansion: The Airport Authority Board approved an agreement to advance the planning and concept designs for a future expansion to Terminal 1. The potential future expansion and modernization may include improvements to roads, curbs, parking, ticketing, gate areas, concessions and pre-and post-security areas. The Authority wants to be prepared if a future terminal expansion is necessary as the community and passenger traffic continue to grow.
Terminal 2 Expansion: The Airport Authority Board also approved an amendment to the current design contract to expand Terminal 2. Additional services under this amendment include an energy analysis to develop best practices in keeping with the Authority’s sustainability goals. Both terminal expansions are included in Vision 2040, RDU’s master plan for accommodating the growing demand for air travel in the Triangle region.
Parking Guidance: Airport guests may soon notice a new parking guidance system that improves their experience in the deck. The system is designed to visually communicate – through lights and digital signage – all open, closed and ADA-compliant parking spaces. RDU will begin testing the system in mid-July on Level 6 of the parking garage. If the test phase is successful, the new system will be installed throughout the deck and is estimated to be fully operational by spring 2024.
Airport Sustainability: A team of “sustainability champions” within the Airport Authority is helping guide, develop, direct and evaluate the implementation of RDU’s first Sustainability Management Plan. The Authority formed the internal sustainability committee as part of the Community, Customers and Employees focus area of the plan. A mid-year update on action items for the current fiscal year will be released in July.
Park Economy 3: The Airport Authority will seek public input on the Environmental Compliance Report (ECR) for the Park Economy 3 (PE3) Expansion project in July. RDU is expanding PE3 to replace public parking between the terminals that will close due to upcoming construction and to meet future demand for more parking as passenger traffic continues to grow. The ECR is being produced as part of the Authority’s Project Environmental Compliance Review Policy, a first-of-its-kind process among airports nationwide to provide additional environmental review that exceeds state and federal requirements for certain construction projects. The PE3 expansion is the first project to complete an environmental compliance review. Information about the process and the ECR schedule for the PE3 Expansion project can be found here.