Air travelers are greeted with warm hugs and Christmas music at RDU Airport
A record number of passengers flew in and out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport last year.
About 11.6 million travelers passed through RDU in 2017 – 5.6 percent more than the previous year.
The growth came from a combination of new flights and healthy demand for existing ones. About 83 percent of all available seats on flights in and out of the airport were full, the highest load factor in five years, according to RDU.
Carriers added nine new nonstop flights from RDU last year, including flights to San Francisco, Seattle, Nashville, Newark, Cincinnati and Las Vegas. Airlines provided the first nonstop service between RDU and two cities: New Orleans and Austin, Texas.
Airlines now offer nonstop flights to 49 cities from RDU, including international flights to Toronto, London, Paris and Cancun. International passenger traffic grew by 26.8 percent compared to 2016, to 331,451.
RDU also enjoys a healthy mix of airlines, with no one carrier dominating the business. Delta Airlines has the largest market share, at 30.8 percent based on outgoing passenger traffic, followed by American at 26.3 percent and Southwest at 20.5 percent.