Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s Terminal 1 to Open This Sunday

RDU Airport, NC – Crews at Raleigh-Durham International Airport are putting the final touches on the new Terminal 1, which has undergone a major renovation. When it opens this Sunday, April 13, passengers flying in and out of the terminal will experience more natural lighting, three works of art and 11 new shops and restaurants.

Construction on Terminal 1 began nearly two years ago when crews stripped the building of its iconic blue panels and replaced them with translucent and silver panels to match the look of Terminal 2.

RDU will document the opening of the terminal on Twitter at #rdut1.

Major elements of the project include:

One concourse featuring 9 gates
Second level security checkpoint with 4 lanes and expanded queuing area
Extensive natural lighting
Updated ticketing and bag claim areas
Three works of art
11 new shops and restaurants
On concourse: Large windows to provide panoramic view of airfield
Local Flavor Featured in Terminal 1
The 11 new shops and restaurants in Terminal 1 will include local favorite Char-Grill. This will be the Raleigh-based restaurant’s first airport location. In addition, Terminal 1 will be home to the ACC American Café, the conference’s first licensed restaurant. Adding more local flavor is Salsarita’s, the Charolotte-based restaurant that offers made to order burritos and tacos.

In addition, the following local products will be used in the restaurants:

Breads for Char-Grill from Raleigh’s Flower’s Bakery
Produce for Salsarita’s from Unique Foods, also of Raleigh
Pulled pork for ACC American Café items from Brookwood Farms of Siler City
Pork for other menu items from Larry’s Sausage in Fayetteville
Seafood for ACC American Café menu items from the N.C. Outer Banks
The History of Terminal 1
The renovated section of Terminal 1 opened in 1982 as Terminal A and quickly earned the name The Big Blue Box. The building was originally designed as a temporary terminal while the Airport Authority embarked on building a new, modern facility on the west side of the airport where Terminal 2 stands today.

However, before plans could be developed, American Airlines approached the airport about building its north-south hub at RDU. Plans then changed as American Airlines built the red-roofed Terminal C.

As a result all new airlines that began service at RDU, with the exception of American’s partner Midway Airlines, were required to operate from Terminal A.

Over the years, the building adapted to the dramatic growth the region experienced during the mid-1990s. To accommodate this demand, the original terminal building, built in 1955, was reopened, and in 2001, the concourse was extended to include five additional gates.

Terminal 2 was built to alleviate congestion in Terminal 1 and to create a new passenger experience. Terminal 2 is home to all of the airlines with the exception of Southwest and AirTran.

An Era of Infrastructure Development
The completion of Terminal 1 marks the end of a major era of infrastructure development at RDU. This period began in the late 1990s with the construction of the airport’s first parking garage, followed by the General Aviation Terminal, Terminal 2 and ending with the modernization of Terminal 1.


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