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MIT: RDU is best connected medium-sized airport

Raleigh-Durham International Airport is the best connected medium-sized airport in the nation, according to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport is the best connected medium-sized airport in the nation, according to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hlynch@newsobserver.com

Raleigh-Durham International Airport is the best connected medium-sized airport in the nation, according to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

RDU, which saw a record-breaking number of passengers last year, topped the list of medium-sized airports that included St. Louis, Nashville and Austin.

“It is not just the number of nonstop routes that matter in facilitating economic activity, it is also the quality of the connectivity,” William Swelbar, research engineer at the MIT International Center for Air Transportation, said in a statement. “The improvements in air service and connectivity, both domestically and internationally, at RDU is a lynchpin in growing the region’s economic health.”

In the study, MIT International Center for Air Transportation analyzed the number of flights to hub airports of various sizes, as well as other nonstop connections to determine the strength of an airport’s connections.

RDU offers nonstop flights to 47 routes, including London, Paris and Toronto. In 2017, RDU added nonstop flights to New Orleans via Allegiant Air and Southwest Airlines, as well as Austin via Delta Air Lines.

RDU touted the study results in a press release Tuesday.

“Exceptional air service is critical to growing, thriving communities,” Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, said in a statement. “RDU provides nonstop flights to destinations around the world and exceptional air carrier network connectivity, serving the businesses and communities in central and eastern North Carolina. And, we’re working hard to provide even more connections around the world.”

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-829-4845: @KTrogdon

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