Vaccine Rollout Brings More Travelers, New Destinations to RDU

Cary, NC — Our nearest international travel hub, Raleigh-Durham International Airport recently announced changes in national travel guidance, additional summer destinations and reported RDU’s highest volume of travelers since the start of the pandemic.

CDC Declares Vaccinated Travelers Can Fly Safely

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued new travel guidance that confirms flying is a “low risk” activity for people fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine.

The CDC found that vaccinated travelers are unlikely to get and spread COVID-19 when they follow public health best practices including wearing a mask and maintaining an appropriate distance.

Vaccinated travelers are not required to get a test before or after domestic travel or self-quarantine after travel unless their destination requires it. When flying internationally, fully vaccinated people do not need to get tested before leaving the United States unless required by the destination, or self-quarantine after their return trip.

New Summer Destinations From American Airlines

Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, FL (VPS) will become the 39th nonstop route at RDU when American Airlines launches service to the Florida Panhandle in June.

American Airlines announced three new, nonstop destinations coming to the RDU boards this summer:

  • Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Florida (VPS)
  • Orlando (MCO)
  • Nashville (BNA)

American will offer seasonal Saturday service to Destin and Orlando from June 5 through Aug. 14. Service to Nashville will be Sunday through Friday year-round beginning June 2. These three new destinations follow American’s announcement last month that it will start daily nonstop service between Austin and RDU on July 2.

RDU Prepares for More Travelers to Take Flight

Below Michael Landguth, the President and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, shares an overview of the latest traveling trends and what’s to come for RDU in 2021.

“I am happy to share that March was the busiest month RDU has experienced since the onset of the global health pandemic. We are finally starting to see signs of recovery thanks to the vaccine rollout and the new health and safety measures airports and airlines have implemented to keep travelers safe throughout their trip.

The growth trend continued into April, with Easter week seeing the highest volume of passengers since March 2020. TSA reported that across the country, more than six million people went through security over Easter weekend, a record for the pandemic.

Looking ahead, we hope that these positive trends continue as vaccine distribution becomes more widespread. The CDC’s recent announcement that fully vaccinated people are safe to fly is another positive sign for air travel and our journey to recovery.

More people flying to visit loved ones and taking vacations is great news for RDU, but it also puts a strain on resources as the airport and its business partners recover from the most difficult year in aviation history. The steep decline in air travel last year forced RDU to consolidate parking and many of the Shops of RDU had to close or reduce their hours.

As more travelers return to flying, we are quickly adapting to maintain ample parking space and provide a variety of dining and shopping options in the terminals. We ask for your patience as the airport gets back to full speed.

I also encourage you to make your travel day stress-free by booking your parking online in advance at ParkRDU.com. Booking online guarantees you access to the parking option of your choice at the lowest rate available and provides a completely contactless parking experience.

We are encouraged by recent travel trends and excited to welcome guests back to the airport. We have made many changes over the past year to provide a safe and seamless travel experience. I hope you will consider flying through RDU when you are ready to get back in the air.

Travel safe and see you soon.

Michael Landguth”


Information and photos courtesy of RDU Airport and the RDU Insider.

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