Triangle business and civic leaders say they'll contribute $500,000 to support efforts by Raleigh-Durham International Airport to recruit new nonstop flights to Paris, Frankfurt or other destinations in Europe and Asia.
Mike Landguth, the RDU Airport director, said the pledge will show airlines that Triangle business leaders are serious about expanding overseas air service. It is a small part of what RDU sought in October when the airport authority board asked local leaders to match RDU's commitment to spend $2.1 million.
Members of the Regional Transportation Alliance, a business group that advocates for highway and other transportation improvements, promised at a meeting in Cary Thursday to raise $500,000 over the next three years - half in cash, half in marketing and other services - in a campaign called the Air Service Advancement Project (ASAP). So far, they have rounded up pledges worth $58,000 in cash and $168,000 in services.
"RDU competes with every airport in the country for flight options," said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke University vice president for public affairs. "The availability of international air service has become a significant factor in economic development activity in this region, and getting new international air service has become a very high priority."
Teresa Damiano, RDU vice president for community affairs, said local businesses also will be asked to provide revenue guarantees that would protect an airline from disappointing ticket sales in the first year.