RDU’s Vision 2040 Master Plan

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Vision 2040, the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority’s 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. 

Vision 2040 is a long-range roadmap for the Authority to follow when making decisions about major campus construction projects. The master plan focuses on four primary areas: the airfield, terminals, ground transportation, and general aviation. 

The 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 RDU of tomorrow will look. 

Entering 2020, RDU was growing faster than Vision 2040 anticipated and was tracking more than a decade ahead of the master plan’s projections. RDU only expands its facilities when a certain level of passenger demand is reached – regardless of the year it was anticipated to occur.  

After pausing or postponing most airport improvement projects in 2020 and 2021, RDU is again reaching growth milestones that require construction and expansion to resume or begin.  With a robust recovery in passenger traffic underway, many capacity-related enhancements identified in the plan are restarting in 2022.  

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

Vision 2040 Projects 

Airfield  

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

Runway 5L/23R and Taxiway B Replacement

RDU is conducting an Environmental Assessment (EA) in cooperation with the FAA for its most significant infrastructure project – the proposed replacement of primary runway 5L/23R and the conversion of the existing runway into a taxiway. The FAA authorized the Airport Authority to move forward with the assessment in 2021 and approved a length of 10,639 feet, marking the kickoff of a multi-year project that has been years in the making. Pending FAA approval, construction on the approximately $400 million runway replacement project could begin in 2023 with anticipated opening dates of 2027 for the runway and 2030 for the taxiway.

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

A multi-year effort to preserve RDU’s aging primary runway, 5L/23R, began in 2019 and continues yearly, with 2022 work scheduled to begin this fall. Concrete on the 10,000-foot runway has deteriorated after more than three decades of use. Although it is still safe for flight operations, regular removal and replacement of old concrete slabs is required so large international aircraft and heavy cargo planes can continue to use it. The preservation project is ongoing while RDU works with the FAA to replace Runway 5L/23R.

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West Remain Overnight Aircraft (RON) Apron Construction

The Airport Authority is converting the existing West General Aviation Apron near Terminal 2 to a Remain Overnight parking area for commercial aircraft. The West RON will provide additional parking capacity for overnight aircraft that typically depart before 8:00 each morning. Construction is expected to conclude in late 2022.

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Taxiway B Rehabilitation

Construction is underway on the rehabilitation of Taxiway B with an anticipated completion date at the end of 2022.

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Taxiway E Reconstruction

Final design for the rehabilitation of Taxiway E is underway, with plans and specifications for bidding to follow. Construction could be awarded in late summer 2022 and will begin in early 2023.

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North Cargo Apron Taxi-Lane Reconstruction 

The final design phase is underway for the taxi-lane portion of the North Cargo Apron project, which includes rebuilding the taxi-lane that allows aircraft access to and from the apron. Construction is expected to be bid out in late 2022. The overall project will be built in multiple phases over multiple years.

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Terminals  

RDU plans to expand its terminals to accommodate more passengers and flights, as demand dictates.

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. In April 2022, Spirit Airlines moved to Terminal 1 and began using Gates A1 – A4.

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Terminal 2 – Security Checkpoint Expansion

In summer 2022, RDU will open two new security checkpoint lanes in Terminal 2 to accommodate the increasing number of passengers flying through the airport. The T2 checkpoint will have a total of 14 lanes to better accommodate growth. A previous two-lane expansion was completed in 2019.

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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.

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Terminal 2 – Landside Expansion Planning

Planning for a potential 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.

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Ground Transportation  

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

Terminal Parking Facilities

RDU upgraded mechanical systems in the parking garage located between terminals, including banks of elevators and moving sidewalks, and resurfaced the economy lot. The project began in 2019 and was completed in 2021.

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Park Economy 3 Expansion

The Airport Authority is resuming design services in 2022 for 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.

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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 

Roadways 

International Drive Rehabilitation

A major rehabilitation project on International Drive is scheduled for May – November 2022. Construction will take place from the intersection of John Brantley Blvd. to Commerce Drive. The project involves milling, replacing aged asphalt, and full-depth reconstruction in critical areas. The road work will be carefully phased by alternating closures of traffic lanes and driveways to minimize the impact on airport guests, business partners and employees.

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National Guard Drive Rehabilitation 

The design phase for the rehabilitation of pavement on National Guard Drive is complete. Construction is expected to take place from late summer to early fall 2022 and finish before the Thanksgiving holiday.

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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.

Read RDU’s Vision 2040 Master Plan.

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