Cary, NC — While the departures list remains limited for RDU, the airport has announced that it will fly travelers to 35 U.S. destinations and 2 international destinations, starting in November 2020.
RDU’s First International Destinations Since March
Prior to COVID, the airport had 57 non-stop U.S. destinations and 5 international.
One bit of good news for RDU’s recovery process will be the start of JetBlue’s daily nonstop services to Cancun (CUN) and Montego Bay (MBJ) starting November 19. These are the first international routes at RDU since mid-March.
Passenger Traffic Remains Flat
TSA screened nearly 310,000 departing passengers at RDU in September 2020 – down 72% from September 2019 and down 3% from August 2020. The number of average daily departures in September was 89, down from 227 in 2019 and 102 in August 2020.
Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority said, “Our goal is to restore all 57 nonstop routes RDU served pre-pandemic and expand from there.”
Landguth says the overall expectation for the future of the industry is a “considerably smaller airline industry with fierce competition among airports.”
For now, RDU officials are sticking to an airline recruitment strategy of positioning the airport at the front of the line when airlines resume service on routes they dropped during the health crisis. This includes two air service incentive programs.
RDU’s New Incentive Programs
RDU’s first incentive program is designed to attract new airlines and new service on previously unserved routes. The second focuses on recovery and is designed to incentivize a return to service of RDU’s previously served year-round international markets. These include:
- London (LHR) — American Airlines
- Montreal (YUL) —Air Canada
- Paris (CDG) — Delta Air Lines
- Toronto (YYZ) — Air Canada
Both programs offer a 12-month waiver of airport landing fees for qualifying service, with a cap of $1,000,000 per fiscal year for the standard program and a $700,000 per fiscal year cap for the recovery program. These new incentive programs are starting up on Nov. 1, 2020.
Safety Measures in Place
RDU is taking action to provide a safe and reassuring experience for everyone who visits and works at the airport. Janitorial staff have enhanced the cleaning and disinfecting practices with products that eliminate COVID-19.
The ticketing areas, security checkpoints, bathrooms, gate waiting areas and high-touch surfaces such as ticket counters, kiosks, handrails and doorknobs are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
Airlines have increased their airplane cleaning procedures, modified boarding practices and encourage passengers to follow public health best practices. All airlines serving RDU require passengers to wear a mask to board the plane and during flight.
According to the CDC, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. Commercial aircraft have medical-grade HEPA filters that remove 99.9% of particles from the air, including viruses like COVID-19.
Story from staff reports. Information and photos courtesy of RDU Airport releases.
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