Raleigh-Durham International Airport had a good year in 2016, a record-breaker, with more than 11 million people coming through the airport. That’s an astonishing figure for people in this area who remember RDU as a rather dusty place way out in the middle of nowhere where families used to go on Sunday afternoons to watch planes come and go.
But RDU represents a metropolis now, with direct flights to Europe and more nonstop flights than could ever have been imagined. But the airport’s leaders recognize, rightly, that they’ll have to play the incentives game — helping airlines with marketing new flights, offering landing fee waivers for new nonstop flights to major markets. And there’s nothing wrong with that if it keeps a growing airport competitive. An airport spokesperson notes that the incentive plan isn’t about cash handouts. It’s partnering with airlines in promotion and cutting them a break, not a check, when it comes to landing fees.
This seems reasonable. It’s even a positive sign, that RDU is continuing to grow. And in addition to landing more of those marquee non-stop flights, the airport looks also to add some low-cost airlines to the mix such as Allegiant and Frontier.
Any savvy business, including an airport, has to stay ahead of the game in order to play the game in the future. That appears to be the strategy at RDU, and it’s a winning strategy.