Strong Labor Day Traffic Marks End of Busy Summer Season

Virtual Food Hall Will Expand Dining Options in Terminal 2

Nearly 116,000 passengers flew through RDU between Friday and Monday of Labor Day weekend, down 33 percent compared to the same travel period in 2019. The busiest day of the holiday weekend was Friday, with more than 35,000 travelers passing through the airport. During the month of August, RDU saw more than 880,000 total passengers. That represented an eleven percent decline over July 2021 but a 171 percent increase over August 2020.

“With summer breaks ending and students returning to school, Labor Day weekend likely marks the end of the busiest travel period at RDU until the winter holidays,” said Michael Landguth, president & CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “The airport saw passenger traffic steadily recover throughout the summer, but we anticipate fewer travelers in the fall because of the significant decrease in business travel.”

Business travel continues to lag behind leisure travel, with only 23% of RDU passengers surveyed indicating they have traveled for business during the pandemic. There are some promising signs that business travel may rebound. In a survey RDU conducted in August, only 20% of respondents indicated that their company continues to prohibit business travel, down from 52% in March.

Toronto Flights Resume: RDU welcomed back nonstop service to Toronto last week after a long hiatus. The Canadian government recently lifted restrictions on foreign travelers entering the country, allowing Air Canada to resume flights out of RDU and other U.S. airports. Toronto joins Cancun, Mexico and Montego Bay, Jamaica as one of RDU’s nonstop international flights. The Toronto route began as once daily service and is scheduled to expand to twice a day, seven days a week on October 1.

New Taxi Service: With passenger traffic and the demand for taxi cabs growing, the Airport Authority Board voted to implement a new short-term agreement with Taxi Taxi. Taxi Taxi will provide walk-up, on-demand, no-call-necessary service. Cabs will stage in the taxi pick-up zones on the arrival curbs for guests to conveniently access when exiting the terminals. RDU’s previous taxi partner discontinued service when passenger traffic declined during the pandemic.  Taxi Taxi is expected to begin service as RDU’s cab partner next week.

Virtual Food Hall: As part of its commitment to providing a world-class airport experience, RDU will contract with Vessel NC Operations LLC, a joint venture of REEF Kitchens and J. Johnson & Company LLC, to establish a virtual food hall in Terminal 2. Virtual food halls, sometimes referred to as “ghost kitchens,” are a new concept to RDU that provide a wide array of food options by combining menu items from multiple brands in one operation. Guests will enjoy a digital, contactless food order and payment experience that is aligned with current consumer trends toward touchless service. The new dining option will expand the food choices available in Terminal 2 during the breakfast, lunch and dinner hours and will feature recognized national and local brands.