RDU’s Vision 2040 Master Plan

Vision 2040 is the long-range roadmap the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority follows when making decisions about major campus construction projects. 


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the Vision 2040 25-year master plan for growth in 2017 after a two-year public process. The plan is the result of a comprehensive study of RDU’s short, medium and long-term development needs to meet the Research Triangle region’s future demand for aviation.   It focuses on four primary areas: the airfield, terminals, ground transportation, and general aviation.  

The master plan is based on projected passenger volume and the ability of RDU’s facilities to handle current and future demand. It also takes socioeconomic and environmental impacts and benefits into consideration. Within Vision 2040 is an Airport Layout Plan that visualizes how the future RDU will look.  The airport only expands its facilities when a certain level of passenger demand is reached, regardless of the year it was anticipated to occur. RDU set a record for passenger traffic in 2023 and is reaching milestones that make it critical for construction and expansion projects to move forward. 

As RDU welcomes more guests, adds new airlines and increases the number of destinations it serves, capacity-related enhancements that will allow the airport to prepare for growth are underway. 

Talking about Vision 2040 on social media? Use hashtag #RDUVision2040. 

Vision 2040 Projects 


Vision 2040 calls for RDU to preserve existing infrastructure while planning for the future.  

Runway 5L/23R and Taxiway B Replacement

The replacement of primary Runway 5L/23R is the signature capital project in the Vision 2040 master plan. The existing 10,000-foot runway was built in the 1980s and needs to be replaced after four decades of use. The replacement runway will be built approximately 537 feet west of the current location to allow the current runway to remain in operation during construction.

The Airport Authority and the FAA conducted an Environmental Assessment that defined the purpose and need for a new runway, analyzed the potential impacts of the project and provided opportunities for public participation, review and comment. The FAA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact and Record of Decision (FONSI/ROD) in August 2023 that concluded the federal environmental review process and authorized the Authority to begin final permitting and construction on a new 10,639-foot runway. Construction is expected to be completed in 2029.


Runway 5L/23R Preservation Program and Taxiway B Preservation

A multi-year effort to preserve Runway 5L/23R began in 2019. Removal and replacement of deteriorated concrete slabs is required so aircraft can continue to use the runway. The preservation project will continue until the new runway is open.


West Remain Overnight Aircraft (RON) Apron Construction

The Airport Authority opened a new Remain Overnight (RON) parking area for commercial aircraft in April 2023. The West RON provides additional parking capacity for overnight aircraft that typically depart before 8:00 a.m.


Taxiway B Rehabilitation

Construction on the rehabilitation of Taxiway B concluded in November 2022.


Taxiway E Reconstruction

Construction began in January 2023 and will conclude in 2024.


North Cargo Apron Taxilane Reconstruction 

Reconstruction of the North Cargo Taxi-Lane began in February 2023 and is expected to be completed in November 2024. The overall apron replacement program will be undertaken in phases over multiple years.



Vision 2040 calls for terminal expansions to accommodate more passengers and flights as more travelers choose to fly through RDU. 

Terminal 1 – Gate Activation

The Terminal 1 gate activation project completed in 2019 included construction of a bag makeup building, offices, and TSA bag processing space, installation of jet bridges, new ticket counters and kiosks and rehabilitation of hold rooms. Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Breeze Airways, Avelo Airlines and Sun Country Airlines now operate out of Terminal 1.


Terminal 2 – Security Checkpoint Expansion

In 2022, RDU opened two new security checkpoint lanes in Terminal 2 to accommodate the increasing number of passengers flying through the airport. The Terminal 2 checkpoint now has a total of 14 lanes to keep pace with passenger traffic. A previous two-lane expansion was completed in 2019.


Terminal 2 – Federal Inspection Service Facilities Expansion Program

Vision 2040 anticipated an increase in international air travel at RDU that would require an expansion of the airport’s Federal Inspection Station (FIS), or U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. The FIS facility will be expanded under the airport’s master plan to accommodate the increasing number of travelers flying into RDU from foreign destinations.


Terminal 2 – Landside Expansion Planning

Planning for an expansion of Terminal 2 is underway to ensure RDU has the capacity to meet current and future passenger demand. An expansion could include the security screening checkpoint area, expanding the Federal Inspection Services facility and related Customs and Border Protection areas; modifying or expanding the ticketing hall, along with ticket counters, kiosks, queue and circulation areas; upgrades to the checked baggage screening system, lobby areas, pre-security concessions and baggage claim; and curbside roadway improvements.


Ground Transportation  

Improvements to RDU’s ground transportation facilities will make your experience on the airport campus easier and more convenient. 

Park Economy 3 Expansion

Construction began in 2023 on the expansion of Park Economy 3. The 3,820-space lot on National Guard Drive provides shuttle bus service to Terminals 1 and 2. The project will expand the existing lot to create approximately 8,700 additional spaces and add a Customer Amenity Building.


Rental Car and Ground Transportation Centers

General Aviation  

RDU plans to support future growth of general aviation through new facilities and locations, including the development of the General Aviation Corporate Campus.

Airport Improvement Projects 


International Drive Rehabilitation

The Airport Authority completed a major rehabilitation project on International Drive in 2022. The project involved milling, replacing aged asphalt, and full-depth reconstruction from the intersection of John Brantley Blvd. to Commerce Drive.


National Guard Drive Rehabilitation 

The rehabilitation of National Guard Drive from Aviation Parkway to Haleys Branch Road concluded in 2022. 


About the Vision 2040 Planning Process 

Vision 2040 is the product of years of planning, public workshops, and stakeholder engagement. RDU prioritized public involvement during the master planning process so the final plan would reflect the needs of airport guests and the community. The Airport Authority hosted 10 public workshops during the planning process and engaged internal and external stakeholder groups for additional input.

Visit the Vision 2040 microsite for answers to frequently asked questions and documentation from past public workshops and meetings.