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Report: RDU flights down 7 percent since 2011

Posted July 23, 2015

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— A new report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that travelers looking to depart from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport will have fewer flights from which to choose.

The report ranked 200 airports based on how many flights have been cut since 2011. RDU was ranked No. 40 on the list.

Mindy Hamlin, an airport spokeswoman, said RDU has seen a decrease of approximately 7 percent in the past four years.

Hamlin said the reduction is due to a shift in the way airlines are currently operating.

“Over the past several years, the airlines have changed their business model,” Hamlin said. “They’ve started taking out smaller aircrafts and putting in larger aircrafts.”

While the number of flights has decreased, the number of seats available is up 3 percent, according to Hamlin.

For business traveler Jeff Zych, the frequency of flights is more important than the number of seats. Zych travels to the Triangle from Chicago and New York regularly and said flexibility is key.

“We are not as price-driven as we are to meet the needs of trips that we are taking,” Zych said. “That’s more critical, having those flexible options.”

Zych said getting to the Triangle can be a challenge and sees flexibility being an important factor for companies relocating in the area.

Hamlin said the area is a strong, growing market and that airlines still plan on flying out of RDU.

“While we have recently seen consolidation and optimization of capacity, the introduction of new carriers at RDU, including Alaska Airlines and Allegiant, and the expansion of destinations from several others is a strong indication of the confidence airlines have in our region’s future,” said Joe Milazzo II, executive director of the Regional Transportation Alliance business coalition.

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  • Mike Morgan Jul 24, 2015
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    “Over the past several years, the airlines have changed their business model,” Hamlin said. “They’ve started taking out smaller aircrafts and putting in larger aircrafts.”

    Aircrafts?

  • Johnny Friedrich Jul 23, 2015
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    This article does put it perspective. Smaller planes are being replaced by larger ones, hence reduction in flights. You may take out two flights of 50-seat planes and put in one flight of a 100-seat plane. In the RDU area there must be a balance between leisure and business travel. Not everyone has the money to pick and choose a flight based upon time and not everyone wants to choose the cheapest either. There are 12-15 departures a day between Chicago Midway and O'Hare out of RDU, one every 1-2 hours on average. This goes for the NYC area airports also. There are plenty of flights to these cities. I think RDU needs to continue to look at other cities and international destinations. I think RDU should also look at being a transient airport or a hub similar to London Heathrow. With the 787 and similar aircraft now in service this opens up RDU to so many destinations it never had before.