Road Worrier Blog

Delta drives passenger growth at RDU Airport

Travelers at RDU wait at the Delta Air Lines counter on Nov. 25 as they try to get an early start on Thanksgiving travel.
Travelers at RDU wait at the Delta Air Lines counter on Nov. 25 as they try to get an early start on Thanksgiving travel. cseward@newsobserver.com

Led by strong growth at the Delta Air Lines counter, Raleigh-Durham International Airport saw its airline passenger count grow to 9.5 million in 2014 – 3.8 percent more than in 2013.

It was RDU’s best showing since 2008, but well short the airport’s record 10.4 million travelers in 2000, when it was the hub of the former Midway Airlines.

“Despite capacity cuts airlines have made over the past several years, we have been fortunate to have additional seats and flights introduced into our market in the past two years,” RDU president and CEO Michael Landguth said in a statement. “As we have said before, if seats are available, our customers will book them.”

Delta and its regional carriers added more flights and brought in larger aircraft to serve more travelers at RDU in 2014, increasing their combined passenger count by 10 percent to claim a 29.6 percent share of the airport’s total business. Southwest and its Airtran subsidiary saw their combined traffic drop by 1.7 percent at RDU, where they now have a 22.2 percent share.

Some of the airport’s growth was focused on recently added nonstops to the West Coast. United added a second daily flight to San Francisco, and Delta added second daily departures on peak days of the week to Los Angeles.

Delta also increased flights to Las Vegas, Philadelphia and several Florida destinations.

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