Raleigh-Durham International Airport
The Raleigh-Durham International Airport is a public airport that spans nearly 5,000 acres. Established in 1929 as Raleigh’s Municipal Airport, its Wake County location makes it one of the largest in the region. In the 1940s, Raleigh-Durham was taken over by the federal government and used as an army training facility until 1948. During the population boom of the time, the North Carolina General Assembly saw the need for expansion, and also changed the airport to its current name.
Raleigh-Durham has one concrete runway, which is just over 10,000 feet in length. The two asphalt runways are 7,500 and 3,570 feet. The airport has two terminals: 1 and 2. Terminal 1 opened in the early 1950s and has gone through a number of expansions. The terminal initially had an A and B; B was closed three years ago. The A has a side walkway and gates A5-A9. Terminal 2 was built in the mid 1980s, and is the largest, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the airport’s passengers. Terminal 2 has also undergone a number of renovations with a 900,000 square foot expansion. This terminal also has 36 gates.
Passenger Services at Raleigh-Durham Airport
The airport has a number of guest services to ease the tension of flying. Raleigh-Durham provides outstanding customer service, and has information desks that are open until midnight. Travel ambassadors are on standby to answer all customer questions and provide directions and assistance. Travel information centers are stocked with brochures and information regarding the city and surrounding areas. The airline’s passenger services consists of a business center, where passengers can unwind, watch television, and use the free airport WiFi service. Internet kiosks are also available near the baggage claim area. Raleigh-Durham is also equipped with meeting rooms for travelers who need to conduct business before or after flights. Handicapped services ensure a safe and stress-free flight for individuals with disabilities. The airport has wheelchair access, handicapped parking access, elevators, and TTY service. The airport suggests that individuals needing wheelchair assistance should call the airport in advance to ensure that they are promptly accommodated. Passengers with disabilities should also be aware that as a safety measure, all equipment is subject to security screening. Officials should be notified at the checkpoint if the person has anything that will set off security alarms.
Parking at the Airport
Raleigh-Durham offers hourly and daily parking options. There are over 11,000 parking spaces to accommodate passengers. For long-term or economy parking, the park and ride is the best option. There are over 7,000 parking spaces, and the airport offers shuttles to and from the lot. Shuttles offer rides every 20 minutes. Exit Express is a great option that allows passengers to prepay for their parking ticket. RDU Parking is for individuals who travel frequently. This service allows passengers a ticket free entry and exit, automatic pay, and electronic receipt printout. Other forms of transportation include taxis, which are always lined up curbside, limousine service, and rental cars. The airport has a variety of rental car companies to choose from with shuttles to each kiosk. Rental cars are available outside Terminals 1 and 2.
Airlines Serving Raleigh-Durham Airport
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is located in Wake County, North Carolina, approximately five miles from the city of Morrisville. It offers around 350 daily flights to both domestic and international destinations.
RDU is currently served by eight airlines: AirTran Airways, Southwest, Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue Airways, United, and US Airways.
RDU has two terminals. AirTran and Southwest have flights departing from Terminal 1, with AirTran operating out of Gate A24 and Southwest operating out of Gates A25-28. The other six airlines operate out of Terminal 2. American, Delta and JetBlue depart from various numbered C gates, while Air Canada, United and US Airways operate from variously numbered D gates.
By far the busiest domestic route for RDU during the 2011-2012 year was Atlanta, with over 630,000 passengers. AirTran and Delta both service the Atlanta route. Other busy domestic routes for the airport include Charlotte, Philadelphia, New York (LaGuardia) and Chicago (ORD). US Airways handles all of the RDU flights to Charlotte. Both US Airways and Southwest make flights to Philadelphia. American and Delta join US Airways in offering flights to New York, while American and United handle all the traffic to Chicago.
US Airways uses regional affiliates such as Air Wisconsin, Chautauqua Airlines, Mesa, PSA, Republic and Trans Sates Airlines for their flights to Philadelphia, Washington-National, Charlotte and Pittsburgh. United and Delta also use affiliate airlines for some of their flights.
RDU is no longer a hub airport for American Airlines, though it was for a number of years. American continues a daily nonstop flight to London from RDU, mostly because of the needs of their corporate passengers. Raleigh-Durham is considered a large corporate corridor. For example, GlaxoSmithKline has a base in both Raleigh-Durham and in London.
Southwest began offering service out of RDU in the late 1990s and has now become the largest carrier for the airport, passing American. After a loss of some carriers and flights in the mid 2000s, RDU has once again begun to grow.