2017 was a record-breaking year for Raleigh-Durham International Airport and 2018 is already promising to be the best year yet! But, before we get too far into the new year, let’s take a look at some of our biggest stories of 2017.
Plus, earn your “aviation geek” status by packing away the fun facts below!
#10 Hurricane Hunters Visit RDU
In May, the National Hurricane Center brought two of its hurricane hunter aircraft to RDU. After remarks by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and other state and local officials, more than 5,000 people from around the region toured the Gulfstream IV-SP Aircraft and the larger WC-130J. Also on hand were other disaster preparedness vehicles, such as Wake County’s mobile command post.
#9 RDU Purchases Zero-Emissions Buses
In August, the Airport Authority purchased four new electric buses. These smooth new rides will virtually eliminate environmental emissions while improving the ride between ParkRDU Economy Lots and the terminals. The Proterra Catalyst E2 Battery Electric Buses are currently under construction in Greenville, SC and should hit airport roadways by early 2019.
#8 New Fire Truck Arrives
One of our most fun stories of the year was the arrival of our new Oskosh Striker 6×6 fire truck as it was delivered to our maintenance facility in early December! This is the second Oshkosh Striker in our Fire-Rescue fleet. Look for the new truck to be zipping around the airfield in early 2018.
Fun Fact: With more than 20,000 views, this was one of our most watched Facebook videos of 2017.
#7 Parking Improvements Complete
Thanks to our trusty top dog Patch, we completed critical parking preservation work in our ParkRDU Central lot. And, we upgraded parking entry and exit equipment in all of our ParkRDU lots. The new technology allows us to offer new parking services in the future and provides you with a better experience now. Thanks so much for your patience as we’ve worked to improve your parking experience.
Fun Fact: RDU has 19,277 public parking spaces!
#6 New Retail Stores Heading to Terminal 2
Have you heard? Fifteen new stores will open in Terminal 2 during 2018, including 5th and Sunset, Corsa Collections, City Market News, InMotion, No Boundaries, Root & Branch, Swarovski, Vineyard Vines, WRAL and more! The first round of shops opens this Spring! Also, our popular XpresSpa is getting a new, larger space next to Gate C3.
#5 Frontier Announces New Flights for 2018
Connecting two of our most requested destinations, Frontier Airlines announced in July that it will launch nonstop service between RDU and Kansas City and Providence in April 2018! Nonstop flights to Kansas City will begin on April 9 and will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Providence flights will begin on April 8 and operate on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Book now at Frontier.com!
Fun Fact: About 100 people travel each day between RDU and Kansas City!
#4 We Broke Records!
We started and ended 2017 breaking records! In January, we announced that 11 million passengers flew through RDU during 2016, breaking our all-time record. Fast forward to December 13, when we welcomed our 11 millionth passenger for 2017. From that day to the end of the year, every person arriving into or departing from RDU set a new record. The numbers are being crunched and we’ll know the new record soon!
Fun Fact: About 32,000 people fly through RDU every day.
#3 NOLA and Austin Became New Nonstop Destinations!
One of our favorite things to do is launch new routes! February saw the launch of nonstop service to New Orleans via Allegiant. Then on March 9, we launched nonstop service to Austin via Delta! But we weren’t done. On May 5, we had a kick-off for Southwest Airlines’ nonstop service to The Big Easy. And hats off to several of our airline partners for launching other new flights in 2017! Frontier: Austin and Las Vegas and Delta: Nashville, Newark and Seattle!
Fun Fact: We also had a fun kick-off for nonstop service to Cincinnati via Allegiant on Nov. 16.
#2 Virgin America Lands at RDU!
To the beat of funky music and a stylin’ flight crew, we celebrated the arrival of RDU’s 10th airline when Virgin America launched nonstop service to San Francisco on a rainy October morning. Passengers enjoyed groovy swag like “dad hats,” water bottles and an awesome cake before heading off to the Bay Area. Flights operate every day from RDU-SFO via Virgin America!
Fun Fact: Virgin America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alaska Airlines.
#1 Vision 2040 Gets The Green Light!
In 2017 we set our eyes forward as we finalized our Vision 2040 Master Plan! Over the next 25 years, RDU will make a $2.7 BILLION investment to connect you to the people and places you care about most. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved a key component, the Airport Layout Plan in November. And, in May the state of North Carolina increased state funding to ensure the air transportation needs of our region are met! Learn more about Vision 2040.
Fun Fact(s): Several Vision 2040 projects are already underway including the rehabilitation of Taxiway A (outside Terminal 1) and preliminary design on a consolidated rental car facility between terminals 1 and 2.