We have a great airport — let’s make it greater

Raleigh-Durham International Airport has been on a tear for years.

A few years ago, area residents enjoyed the completion of the modernization of terminal 1 — the home of Southwest Airlines at RDU. A few years prior to that, a completely new terminal 2 opened as our region’s primary front door to the world.

Since our terminals have opened, it seems like every month we have more carriers, more destinations, more flights, and simply more travel options than ever before — with more growth and changes seemingly every week.

Delta Air Lines is now our largest carrier by number of seats, as we have become a focus city for the Atlanta-based airline.

Meanwhile, Frontier Airlines flies the most unique destinations out of RDU, with more than 30 nonstops at least a few days per week starting this month.

These and other improved options ensure that the members of our regional community — which stretches more than 100 miles in all directions — have improved connections to the people, places, and opportunities that they care about.

RDU has created an excellent master plan — Vision 2040. While most RTA members are aware of the need to reconstruct primary runway 5L-23R, the Vision 2040 plan includes a host of needed landside and airside improvements that will ensure that RDU International can be everything our region needs it to be as we grow.

There’s only one problem: RDU does not currently have a sustainable funding source to pay for all of its identified needs going forward.

While growth is a good problem to have — it reflects the confidence that air carriers have in our market and our people — it still must be addressed.

Other than accelerating 540, no transportation priority is more important for the regional business community than finding a method to ensure that RDU can pay for its expansion needs, which have outpaced projections by nearly 8 years.

RTA will be focusing on this issue in more detail later this month, at a very special RTA business briefing, held in concert with the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority at RDU.

The 2019 RTA Business Briefing: The Future of RDU Airport will take place on Monday, May 20, where airport executives, national experts, along with state and federal legislators, will highlight the economic importance of aviation investments and the funding needs for RDU Airport. [Note: this event is now sold out.]

We look forward to a productive and impactful RTA business briefing event with our RDU Airport Authority partners!

Let’s get moving,

Joe Milazzo II, PE 
RTA Executive Director

post reference: th3.2019.18

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