Raleigh–Durham International Airport
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (December 2009)|
|Raleigh–Durham International Airport|
|IATA: RDU – ICAO: KRDU – FAA LID: RDU
|Owner||Raleigh–Durham Airport Authority|
|Serves||The Research Triangle Metropolitan Region of North Carolina|
|Location||Cedar Fork Township, Wake County, North Carolina|
|Elevation AMSL||435 ft / 133 m|
|Sources: RDU website|
Raleigh–Durham International Airport (IATA: RDU, ICAO: KRDU, FAA LID: RDU) is a public international airport located 4.5 miles (7 km) northeast of the town of Morrisville in suburban Wake County, North Carolina, United States. The airport covers 4,929 acres (1,995 ha) and operates three runways, providing direct service to 38 domestic and international destinations on 352 daily flights. In 2011, more than 9 million passengers traveled through the airport. The RDU Airport Authority is in charge of the airport facilities and its operations. The Airport Authority is controlled by a board of representatives from the counties of Wake and Durham, and the cities of Raleigh and Durham.
Early days 
The region's first airport opened in 1929 as Raleigh's Municipal Airport, just south of what is now downtown. It was quickly outgrown, and in 1939 the North Carolina General Assembly chartered the Raleigh–Durham Aeronautical Authority to build and operate a replacement airport convenient to both Raleigh and Durham. This was also promoted by Eastern Air Lines, led by then chairman Eddie Rickenbacker who sought to make Raleigh–Durham a stop on the airline's New York-Miami route.
The new Raleigh–Durham Airport opened for commercial service on May 1, 1943 with flights by Eastern Airlines. The passenger terminal was built from materials remaining after the construction of four barracks for the Army Air Forces Air Technical Service Command airfield. The three runways the airport had in 1951 are still visible on the southeast side of the airport: 4500-ft runway 5, 4500-ft runway 18 and 4490-ft runway 14.
After World War II Capital Airlines joined Eastern at RDU; Piedmont Airlines arrived in 1948. The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 36 departures a day: twenty Eastern, eight Capital and eight Piedmont. Nonstop flights did not reach beyond Washington, Atlanta, or the Appalachians (but Eastern started a Super Constellation nonstop to Newark in 1958). The next airline (aside from United's takeover of Capital in 1961) was Delta Air Lines in 1970.
In the 1970s, the last decade before airline deregulation, Piedmont connected RDU to Charlotte, Greensboro, New Bern, Norfolk, Richmond, Rocky Mount, Washington, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. United flew to Asheville, Charlotte, Huntsville and Newark, while Eastern flew to Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond and Washington, and Delta flew to Chicago and Greensboro.
Hub years 
American Airlines built a dedicated terminal at RDU between 1985 and 1987 to house a new hub operation. The RDU hub operated at a loss even during its heyday in the early 1990s, along with AA's contemporaneous north-south hubs in Nashville International Airport and San Jose International Airport. The hub's traffic peaked in 1991 and operations were gradually downsized through 1995, with some services shifting to American Eagle turboprops and others terminated entirely (such as the nonstop 767 to Orly Airport in Paris that American had started in 1988).
Midway Airlines replaced AA as the airport's hub carrier from 1995 until 2003. As of 1995, Midway had flights from RDU to Boston, Hartford, Long Island, Newark, Newburgh, New York, Philadelphia and Washington in the Northeast, and to Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach in Florida.
AA retained the daily nonstop flight to London, originally launched to Gatwick Airport in May 1994 with a Boeing 767-200ER. The route continues to operate today, partly due to the needs of the region's corporate travelers, particularly those of GlaxoSmithKline which has major bases of operation in west London near Heathrow Airport and in the Research Triangle Park near RDU. On March 29, 2008 American Airlines moved its London flight to the larger and more centrally located Heathrow Airport. The RDU-London flight used three-class Boeing 777-200 equipment for several years and is currently operated by two-class Boeing 767-300ER equipment.
Post-hub years 
RDU's post-hub years have brought the addition of several new carriers (most notably Southwest Airlines), as well as new destinations and the recovery and steady growth of passenger traffic. Due to high fuel prices, AMR reduced the number of flights by cutting the flights to Jacksonville, Kansas City, Newark and Louisville. Mainline flights to Austin, Columbus, New York (LaGuardia) and St. Louis were also dropped. Other destinations saw reduced service or downgrade of service. Along with the American Airlines cuts, other airlines cut flights and destinations also. This included United's service to Denver and US Airways' services to Las Vegas and Phoenix, while other airlines dropped frequencies on routes. Independently, ExpressJet ended its services to Kansas City and New Orleans (ExpressJet now only operates flights under United Express and Delta Connection). For the 2008 year, RDU lost over 30 flights compared to March 2008 schedule.
In 2010, RDU's traffic began to recover from the downturn of the past two years. In the first few months of the year, passenger numbers stabilized at RDU, ending the decrease in 2008/2009. In the first four months of 2010, 2.7 million passengers traveled through RDU. Growth was flat, compared to the same period a year ago, but these signs were positive, indicating that the decline was over. Also, after cutting service, carriers at RDU began to add (or re-add) new service to the schedule. In April 2010, Midwest Airlines resumed service from RDU, adding service to Milwaukee. This route ended when Midwest was acquired by Frontier Airlines. Southwest Airlines, which began service to RDU in June 1999, had also aggressively expanded at RDU, adding service to St. Louis in May, and replacing American Airlines as the largest carrier at RDU. JetBlue Airways also increased service to Boston in May 2010.
Delta Air Lines has rapidly increased operations at the airport since 2010, starting with resumed nonstop service to Los Angeles in June 2010, followed by new nonstop service to Columbus, Fort Myers, Hartford, Miami, Orlando, St. Louis and Tampa, and additional frequencies to Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul and New York (JFK), in November 2010, and new services to Albany and Providence in April 2011.
In February 2011, Continental Airlines commenced its first international flight from RDU with service to Cancún. Delta added three daily flights to Baltimore in September 2011. In November, Vision Airlines began operations at RDU, and added a twice weekly flight to Freeport. This service was taken over by Bahamasair in May 2012. United Airlines started the airport's first non-stop flight to San Francisco in August 2012. In December 2012, American Airlines announced the addition of the airport's first daily non-stop flight to Los Angeles, beginning in April 2013.
Terminals, airlines and destinations 
Raleigh–Durham International Airport consists of two terminals: Terminal 1 (gates A24–A28) and Terminal 2 (Concourse C gates C1–C25, Concourse D gates D1–D20). Gates C23, C24, and C25 are international gates, and are able to accommodate aircraft up to the Boeing 747.
Airport lounges 
The following Airport lounge is located in Terminal 1:
- The Club at RDU operated by RDU Airport Authority (After security, across from Gate A21)
The following Airport lounges are located in Terminal 2:
- Admirals Club operated by American Airlines (After security, across from Gates C1 and C3)
- Delta Sky Club operated by Delta Air Lines (After security, across from Gate C3)
- US Airways Club operated by US Airways (After security, across from Gate D1)
Cargo terminal 
The airport incorporates two cargo areas, North Cargo and South Cargo. The North Cargo terminal area is used by cargo airlines. The largest cargo operators are FedEx, UPS, and Ram Air Freight, which has its headquarters here, adjacent to Terminal 2. The South Cargo terminal area is used by the following commercial airlines for cargo operations:
|Business Airfreight||New Bern|
|FedEx Express||Indianapolis, Memphis|
|FedEx Feeder operated by Mountain Air Cargo||Greensboro, Manteo/Dare County|
|UPS Airlines||Columbia (SC), Louisville, Ontario (CA), Philadelphia, Roanoke|
|UPS Airlines operated by Martinaire||Edenton, Manteo/Dare County, New Bern, Jacksonville (NC), Wilmington (NC)|
Passenger statistics 
Since September 11, 2001, passenger traffic at RDU has rebounded to near pre-9/11 levels:
Top destinations 
|1||Atlanta, GA||655,000||AirTran, Delta|
|2||Charlotte, NC||364,000||US Airways|
|3||Philadelphia, PA||275,000||Southwest, US Airways|
|4||New York, NY (LGA)||238,000||American, Delta, US Airways|
|5||Chicago, IL (ORD)||236,000||American, United|
|6||Baltimore, MD||231,000||Delta, Southwest|
|7||Dallas/Fort Worth, TX||205,000||American|
|8||Boston, MA||203,000||Delta, JetBlue|
|9||New York, NY (JFK)||177,000||American, Delta, JetBlue|
Airport facilities 
The airport has implemented the most ambitious expansion in its history, begun in 2006 and completed in January 2011. The airport has two terminals: an older Terminal 1, and a new Terminal 2. The two terminals do not have an airside connection. Passengers moving between the terminals may ride a shuttle bus, or take the moving walkway through the covered parking decks between the terminals.
Terminal 1 
The first terminal facility at RDU opened in 1955. Expanded in 1972 and again in 1976, the building was named Terminal B in 1981 when then-new Terminal A opened. The two terminals were connected by a landside interior walkway. Terminal B was closed in 1989. In 1994, Terminal B lost its identity when it was renovated into an extension of Terminal A; an airside walkway was added to link all gates. Most recently, in 2001 the south end of Terminal A was extended to include five temporary gates; these gates were closed in 2009, as the airlines using them moved to other gates.
Terminal A was renamed Terminal 1 on October 26, 2008 to bring RDU in line with terminal naming conventions and to end years of confusion.
After years of propoals,, the 1981 part of Terminal 1 was closed in 2012 for a complete reconstruction. When the project is complete, Southwest and AirTran will move into the rebuilt building. The future of the older parts of Terminal 1 is unclear.
Terminal 2 
Terminal 2 occupies the site of the former Terminal C, built between 1985 and 1987 for the American Airlines hub. In planning the terminal, American assumed that only around 20% of passengers would originate or terminate their trips in Raleigh–Durham; rather, Terminal C was optimized for the exchange of passengers between connecting flights, with a relatively small check-in and baggage claim area. In reality, connecting passengers only accounted for around two-thirds of the terminal's passengers. After the American and Midway hubs closed, the airport faced a decision about the future of Terminal C and how to eliminate the inconveniences it imposed on local passengers.
In December 2003, the Airport Authority announced plans to expand and renovate the originally 300,000-square-foot (28,000 m²) building, transforming it into a new 900,000 ft² (84,000 m²) facility. In January 2006, however, the airport decided instead to replace the building entirely.
Terminal 2 was designed by Fentress Architects under a philosophy of contextual regionalism, related to Critical regionalism. The terminal, invoking the flowing hills and culture of North Carolina's Piedmont region, consisted of two phases of construction. The first, larger Phase 1 opened on October 26, 2008 while Phase 2 opened on January 23, 2011 in time for the 2011 NHL All Star Game. Terminal 2 has 36 gates; three configured for international flights. All gates feature adjustable jetbridges that can accommodate aircraft from regional jets to Boeing 747s. The federal inspection area has 16 stations.
RDU has two, full service, FBOs on the airfield:
Both FBOs Offer:
- 24 Hour Fuel Services
- Heated Hangars
- Internet Cafe
- Maintenance Services
- Sleep Rooms
- Rental Cars
- US Customs
- Complimentary Coffee
- Conference Room
- Crew Showers
- Hotel/Dinner Reservations
- Taxi/Limousine Services
- Flight Training On Site
General Aviation Terminal 
RDU's General Aviation Terminal serves as:
- Terminal for charter flights (sports, military and leisure)
- Pilot's resource center
- Private-event facility
- Office for several local aviation-related companies
- Cross-Winds Cafe
- Indoor/Outdoor observation deck, overlooking runway 5R/23L
- Raleigh–Wake squadron of the North Carolina wing of the Civil Air Patrol Meeting Location
- Rental Car Facility (military personnel and charter flight passengers)
RDU has three runways. Two parallel runways are designated 5L/23R and 5R/23L, and a cross-wind runway designated 14/32. Both parallel runways have been equipped with LED lights.
- Runway 5L/23R: 10,000 feet (3,000 m) x 150 feet (concrete)
- Runway 5R/23L: 7,500 feet (2,300 m) x 150 feet (asphalt)
- Runway 14/32: 3,550 feet (1,080 m) x 100 feet (asphalt)
Prior to September 11, 2001, The RDU Airport Authority and Federal Aviation Administration planned a fourth runway at the airport, but with the demise of the Midway Airlines hub and the airline industry downturn following 9/11 terrorist attacks, this plan was placed on hold. During the period between May 27, 2008 and June 24, 2008, and between May 19, 2010 and June 17, 2010, runway 5R/23L was closed for renovation.
In addition to standard hourly and daily parking garages, RDU operates four park-and-ride lots served by shuttle bus.
- Lot 1 is a "cell-phone waiting" lot
- Lots 2 and 5 are used primarily for seasonal overflow and holiday traffic.
- Lots 3 and 4 are traditional park-and-ride facilities.
There are, currently, a total of 11,021 parking spaces available to passengers
- 1st (Attack) Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment Battalion of the 130th Aviation Regiment — North Carolina Army National Guard AH-64A/D Apache/Apache Longbow attack helicopter unit, the first Reserve component unit to receive the Apache
- USO of NC (United Service Organization of North Carolina) RDU is North Carolina's first airport-based USO and opened for military families in 2004. The facility is run by donations made to the USO. RDU USO location and facts:
- Terminal 2 Ticketing Area
- Open 24 hours a day
- Staffed by Volunteers
- 3,100 square feet (290 m2)
- Media Center
- Bright Spaces (children only play area)
- Reading Room
- Terminal 2 Ticketing Area
Observation areas 
RDU maintains two public observation decks.
- One deck overlooks runway 5L/23R near the air traffic control tower and park-and-ride lot 2. It has a playground with a simplistic model of RDU's runways for kids and air traffic communications are broadcast via a loudspeaker for the curious public.
- The second deck is located at the General Aviation Terminal. It includes a cafe called "CrossWinds Cafe". This observation deck allows for both inside and outside viewing.
Ground transportation 
Public transit 
Public transportation to and from RDU is provided by Triangle Transit, which offers scheduled, fixed-route regional and commuter bus service between the airport, Amtrak, and the principal cities of Raleigh, Durham and town of Chapel Hill (where TTA connects with the respective local urban transit systems), as well as to and from Research Triangle Park and several of the region's larger suburban communities.
- TTA Route 100 [Downtown Raleigh – RDU – Regional Transit Center]
For hire 
- Taxicab service at RDU is operated by RDU Taxi Inc., with a contract extension that runs through December 31, 2014.
- Shuttle services: As in most regions, numerous hotels throughout the area offer guest shuttles to and from the airport. Service varies by location, however most are available from approximately 6 a.m. daily through the final arrival/departure of the evening.
- Major rental car providers operate from the airport.
Incidents and accidents 
- On December 13, 1994, American Eagle Flight 3379 operated by AMR's regional airline Flagship Airlines, a Jetstream 31 was on a regularly scheduled service of Raleigh–Greensboro-Raleigh when it crashed into a wooded area about 4 miles (6.4 km) SW of the airport, in the vicinity of Morrisville, NC. Of the 20 onboard (18 passengers and 2 crewmembers) 15 were killed while the 5 survivors received serious injuries. The probable cause of the crash was the pilot not following proper procedure when it came to an engine failure situation.
- On February 19, 1988, AVAir Flight 3378, a Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner was on a regularly scheduled flight between Raleigh and Richmond when it crashed into a reservoir about a mile from the airport, where it had departed in the vicinity of Cary, North Carolina: The aircraft departed during low ceiling, low visibility, and night conditions. Analysis of radar data indicated the aircraft was in a 45 degree descending turn. Both crew members and all 10 passengers were killed. It was revealed during the investigation that the pilot had complained of illness but decided to continue the flight.
See also 
- "Airline Destinations". RDU Airport Authority.
- "RDU Facts". RDU Airport Authority. 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
- "RDU Passenger Statistics and Activity Reports". RDU Airport Authority. 2012-09-17.
- Baskas, Harriet (2004-10-11). "Stuck at the Airport: Raleigh–Durham – Haven for bibliophiles at RDU". Expedia.com. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- 1978 timetable
- 1976 timetable
- 1972 timetable
- 1974 timetable
- The RDU Experience: Phase 2 expansion culminates a decade of defining the needs, the costs
- 1995 timetable
- "RDU Terminal 1 History".
- "Weak economy could delay projects at RDU". WRAL. November 20, 2008.
- "RDU could shutter terminal". WRAL. January 30, 2009.
- "Terminal 1 Modernization Project".
- "Airlines to be in transit at RDU". Raleigh News and Observer. November 19, 2010.
- "RDU Continues Runway Rehabilitation Project" (Press release). Raleigh–Durham Airport Authority. 2008-07-01.
- "Fast Facts". Raleigh–Durham Airport Authority. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
- "1–130th Aviation Battalion". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- "About the NC National Guard". North Carolina National Guard. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
- American Eagle Flight 3379 Information
- American Eagle Flight 3379 NTSB Brief Report
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Raleigh-Durham International Airport|
- Raleigh-Durham International Airport
- RDU Aircraft Noise Program
- PDF at North Carolina DOT airport guide
- (PDF), effective May 2, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for RDU, effective May 2, 2013
- Resources for this airport: