Business

RDU sees 38th straight month of passenger growth

Nearly 1 million people boarded or departed a plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in April – the airport’s 38th consecutive month of passenger growth.
Nearly 1 million people boarded or departed a plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in April – the airport’s 38th consecutive month of passenger growth. File photo

Nearly 1 million people boarded or departed a plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in April – the airport’s 38th consecutive month of passenger growth, according to airport officials.

The number of passengers leaving RDU rose by 8.9 percent over April 2016, and the number of passengers arriving increased 5.3 percent, according to RDU.

This brings RDU’s passenger totals for 2017 to 3.4 million – a 7 percent increase over the first four months of last year. In 2016, the airport broke its record for the most passengers in a year when more than 11 million people traveled to and from RDU.

Because of the growth, passengers are now encouraged to arrive at least two hours before their flight.

Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines carried the most passengers to and from RDU in April. But the airport’s newest low-cost carrier, Allegiant Air, saw the most growth – 35 percent over April 2016. Allegiant, which has several trips from RDU to Florida, recently added a new trip to New Orleans.

RDU officials looked at how to handle growth at the airport during an 18-month master planning process, called Vision 2040. The airport authority approved a 25-year master plan in October.

“We did the master planning process to make sure we have facilities and infrastructure in place to handle growth in the coming years,” said RDU spokesman Andrew Sawyer.

Major capital projects in the next 25 years include reconstructing the airport’s longest runway, building a consolidated rental car facility and renovating the parking deck.

As part of a separate project this year, the airport will begin replacing its parking access and revenue control system, which is expected to make it possible for RDU to start its long-awaited online parking reservations. The system will let travelers book and pay for parking online at parkrdu.com, ensuring they have a place to park even at the busiest times of the year.

The online reservation system is expected to be fully in place by Jan. 1, but certain parts of the garage may see the service sooner as it’s phased in. Online booking was expected to start in May 2016, but was delayed by software issues.

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-829-4845: @KTrogdon

  Comments