Local News

Construction on New RDU Terminal Taking Off

Posted August 24, 2007

— Raleigh-Durham International Airport showed off progress on its new terminal Friday while celebrating a safety milestone in the $570 million project.

The north concourse of the new terminal, which replaces the red-roofed Terminal C, is expected to open next summer, followed by the south concourse in late 2010. RDU officials said the two concourses will encompass 900,000 square feet – three times the size of the former terminal – and will accommodate about 11 million passengers a year.

"It will give us more room to grow," RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said. "Terminal A is overcrowded. When we do open the new terminal, we will have more gates (and) more flexibility. That will offer opportunities to airlines to either build out service here at RDU or for new airlines to come in."

Passenger traffic is up about 7 percent for the year, and RDU officials project about 10 million travelers will pass through the airport this year.

Terminal C was built in 1987 as a hub for American Airlines and was designed primarily for passengers changing planes. But with the demise of American's hub, officials said less than 5 percent of RDU's passengers now change planes at the airport.

The new terminal will feature 20 check-in counters and dozens of electronic kiosks for self-check-in, 10 security checkpoint lines for faster screening, an expanded baggage claim area and about 50 restaurants and shops for travelers waiting to take off, officials said.

The 32 gates in the terminal – six more than the old Terminal C – will be flexible enough to handle a variety of aircraft, Hamlin said. Delta Airlines will be the first to occupy the new terminal next year, followed by Northwest Airlines, Continental Airlines and USAirways.

Southwest Airlines, AirTran Airways, JetBlue and Express Jet will remain in Terminal A.

Ken Atkins, Wake County economic development director, said a thriving airport is one aspect of luring new business to the region.

"People often make their first impression of an area with what they see first, and it's many times our airport," Atkins said. "It's all a part of that image. It's all a part of talking about who we are and where we are in a global marketplace."

Traveler Gigi Secky said Friday that she was unimpressed by her visit to Terminal A.

"I would say, first impressions, I have been in nicer airports, certainly," Secky said. "(It's) nothing terribly impressive. You know, it's adequate."

Hamlin said Terminal A will undergo its own makeover after 2010, when it will be redesigned to resemble the other terminal.

"Terminal A was never planned to be a permanent terminal," she said. "When we get to the end of this project, we'll turn our focus on Terminal A."

Meanwhile, Archer Western Contractors, the general contractor in charge of the new terminal received a safety award Friday after workers completed 1 million hours with no injuries resulting in days off. The more than 300 construction workers on the project also received injury-prevention training at a safety fair.


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  • gratefultoGOD Aug 25, 2007

    gopanthers... WHO MANY TIMES HAVE YOU FLOWN?? How many airports in nc?? I am a retired Flight Attendant. Seen TOO many airports.. local national and international. This is NOT A good layout, good airport.. at all. Charlotte exceeds RDU, yes it is a hub. BUT.. raleigh has wasted $$ on roads, etc.. and yes! it LACKS.. and parking SUCKS!! Charlotte is ALOT larger and parking is circular to airport. Not this ride 10 miles to your car!! City bus runs to airport also. Raleigh get with it!

  • slappyh99 Aug 25, 2007

    It’s my understanding that American Airlines built terminal C and maintained control of it after they moved their hub. Therefore American would not allow other airlines to use the vacant gates in terminal C. After American’s lease/control of terminal C expired then RDU was able to make the improvements. I agree that terminal A is at best adequate and it desperately needs to be remodeled.

  • gopanthers Aug 25, 2007

    continued - and the landscaping and parking area's/decks.

  • gopanthers Aug 25, 2007

    Iv'e been through a lot of Airports in my time (and I'm not just saying this because I live in N.C.) but I think RDU is not the biggest (yet) but the terminals by far are the most attractive I've ever seen. It has style and class and awhole lot of charm.

  • pstang Aug 24, 2007

    11 million passengers does not mean 11 million cars... I doubt a typical family of four drives 4 cars to the airport... besides the last time I was at there was plenty of parking... not to mention the many people that use rental cars.

    also to comment on why RDU didn't use any unused gated at the airport... sometimes airlines take out long-term leases on gates (many, many year leases) and are unwilling to give them up, because giving up these gates could lead to increased competition and lower sales for the airline

  • gratefultoGOD Aug 24, 2007


  • NC to GA Aug 24, 2007

    I agree that terminal C shouldn't have been torn down. Terminal A has looked like a cheap, corrugated metal shed at least since the 80's that I can remember.

    It makes absolutely no sense that they wouldn't have demolished terminal A & B first and then done something (if needed afterwards) with terminal C. But to tear down a perfectly adequate and decent looking terminal and leave a shed seems stupid to me.

  • kitelover110 Aug 24, 2007

    11 million passengers = 11 million vehicles (30,000+ per day) in and out of the airport - and just where are the highways upon which these vehicles will be traveling?

  • I know some stuff Aug 24, 2007

    consider this insanity: a few years ago, when Term.A & B was overcrowded, we had perhaps 20 gates at Term.C that were unused. Yes, empty.
    So, rather than move some airlines from A to C, we knocked down Terminal C, and will build 40 new gates.
    Why not just use the one's we had??
    CLearly RDU has way too much money. Otherwise they would not take this ultra expensive path.
    (ps. my gate count is an estimate, you get the idea though. We knocked down a lot of usable, but yet unused gates)BTW, I fly at least once a month, so I've been there.

  • NCSUPackfan Aug 24, 2007

    It will be such a relief... although I have to admit I did enjoy having to sit on the floor at gates 19-25 in terminal A while waiting to board