New Task Force to Study Best Ways to Protect Health at the Airport

RDU Passenger Traffic Sees 12th Straight Week of Growth

The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority has assembled a task force of experts from the university, non-profit, technology and biotech communities to help guide RDU’s actions to prevent the spread of communicable disease at the airport.

“This outstanding group of experts will guide RDU as we evaluate the best ways to protect the health and safety of everyone who visits the airport,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “Their expertise will help us establish additional health practices so passengers can continue to fly with confidence at RDU.”

The Task Force is divided into two work groups: Passenger and Employee Wellness and Well Building. The work groups will recommend short and long-term airport improvements to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases; help evaluate products and technologies used to prevent the spread of illness in a public transportation facility; share recommendations and educate the Airport Authority as it prepares for potential future outbreaks. The task force will also examine what role airports, including RDU, should play in reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

The task force and working groups are comprised of subject matter experts from organizations including RDU, Biogen, Duke Global Health, Duke University, IBM, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Research Triangle Foundation, RTI International, N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill.

“In this time of crisis, it is fitting that our universities are working with RDU to address the serious challenge of providing a safe travel experience. Our universities are practiced collaborators around needed innovations and creating solutions to the most pressing challenges facing society today. Duke, N.C. Central, N.C. State, and UNC-Chapel Hill have thousands of faculty members working on relevant topics such as infectious disease treatment and vaccines, material sciences, atmospheric aerosol particles and behavioral health. These faculty are eager to be of help to RDU, and we look forward to our continued pursuit of this goal.”

  • Judith Cone, Vice Chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development – Innovate Carolina

“It is an honor to represent my organization, RTI International, on the RDUAA Task Force. I represent an organization with thousands of employees who want to travel again to support our clients and our company, but they want to know it is safe to do so. I have been impressed by the RDUAA team including their dedication, knowledge and openness to listen, share and explore best practices to provide a safe and healthy environment for the traveling public.”

  • James J. Gibson, Chief Operating Officer, RTI International

Twelve Straight Weeks of Growth: 209,000 passengers traveled through RDU in June, down 84% from June 2019, but up 114% compared to May 2020. American Airlines carried the largest share of RDU traffic in June at 36% of departing passengers; Southwest was next at 33%, with Delta in third at 12%.

The number of passengers per flight was impacted by airline social distancing policies in June, with Delta and Southwest blocking all middle-seats, and American restricting some seats during the month.

New #FlyConfident Video: a video recently released by RDU shows travelers the new health and safety practices in place at the airport to protect against COVID-19. The #FlyConfident video allows viewers to observe the new travel experience by following a passenger through the airport. The video captures the new health and safety measures throughout the traveler’s journey from the time they enter the airport and board a flight to the time they collect their luggage on their return trip. Learn more about the airport’s health practices by visiting our Fly Confident. Fly RDU. web page.

State and Federal Funding: RDU anticipates receiving nearly $6.9 million in FAA funding this fall to help pay for the reconstruction of Taxiway F. The reconstruction project was completed last fall and the grant will reimburse the Authority for funds it already expended.

In addition, a recently-enacted state law appropriates $17.9 million in state funding to RDU for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. The state funding is equal to the amount RDU received last fiscal year and can be used to help pay for capital projects, operations and bond repayments.

 Amazon Parking Spaces: Amazon will pay RDU $176,400 a year to license 245 parking stalls in an airport lot that is currently vacant. The parking stalls will be used to support delivery services under a one-year agreement that may be extended up to two additional years.