Business

RDU fliers will be able to walk to their rental cars in coming years

In this file photo, business traveller Brian Jackson, left, from Nashville, Tenn., drops off his rental car at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot at Raleigh-Durham International Airport while Enterprise employee Ryan Thistlethwaite checks the car over.
In this file photo, business traveller Brian Jackson, left, from Nashville, Tenn., drops off his rental car at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot at Raleigh-Durham International Airport while Enterprise employee Ryan Thistlethwaite checks the car over. Harry Lynch

Travelers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport will be able to get to and from their rental cars without taking a shuttle bus under a project launched by the airport authority on Thursday.

The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority took the first major step to build a consolidated rental car complex, also known as CONRAC, near the main parking garage between the two terminals, putting it within walking distance for fliers.

The board approved hiring InterVISTAS, a California-based management consulting company, for planning and preliminary design. The goal is to put all 11 rental car companies that do business at RDU under one roof.

“It’s really defining what do we want in that rental car facility,” RDU spokesman Andrew Sawyer said. “It’s that first step.”

Currently, fliers who land at RDU must be picked up from their terminal by a rental car company’s shuttle. Each company has its own shuttle to take passengers to their buildings at the south end of the airport, near Aviation Parkway. These rental car facilities are aging and at or near capacity, Sawyer said.

The new rental car complex is one of the first projects laid out in RDU’s 2040 master plan, which the board approved last October, to move forward. Another large project – replacing the airport’s longest runway – is already in the works.

Bill Sandifer, RDU’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, said the CONRAC will take at least six years, but probably eight or more, to complete.

It will take that long because of the location, on the northeast side of the main parking garage, which will require shifting roads, including John Brantley Boulevard. But RDU officials said it would be well worth it to make the rental car facility more accessible to fliers.

RDU officials said the planning process will help better determine the cost. The rental car complex will be paid for by money collected through a fee charged to rental car users.

“We are banking that right now so we can build this better facility for customers,” said Kristie VanAuken, RDU’s vice president of communications and community affairs.

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-829-4845: @KTrogdon

  Comments