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Study: Passengers Satisfied With Service At Major N.C. Airports

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A study of North Carolina's commercial air service shows travelers are very pleased with the service they are getting.

The Department of Transportation study shows large airports are doing well. The study also shows that small commercial airports are losing service, and there seems to be little hope of recovering that service.

The airline service study shows the number of people boarding planes at the state's large airports --

Raleigh-Durham International


Charlotte/Douglas International


Piedmont Triad International

in Greensboro -- is up 5 percent over a six-year period. During the same period, boardings at all other commercial airports in the state are down 26 percent.

The year-long study shows it will be hard to increase service to smaller airports, because there are not enough passengers and airlines are in trouble.

Some smaller airports, like the

Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport

, are giving up on local service.

"From our community's perspective, we are now in a position that we are OK with the fact that Raleigh-Durham is there. We have excellent service," said Hans Hess, airport director.

The study shows Raleigh-Durham boards the highest percentage of originating passengers, followed by Charlotte and Greensboro. All other airports combined originate only 9 percent of passengers.


Fayetteville Regional Airport

has been trying to add commercial service for six years.

"Certainly, we'll use this information to make contact again with the airlines. Being a systemwide, statewide study, maybe they'll give it a little bit more attention," said director Bradley Whited.

US Airways dominates air service in the state with its huge hub in Charlotte. It also provides the majority of service to smaller airports.

If travelers are satisfied with service, why should we care about service at smaller airports?

"Because they've had a history of providing service and because they play a role in the transportation system," said Christina Cassotis, air transport consultant.

To keep local traffic, the study recommends increasing competition at smaller airports, working for lower fares and convenient schedules.

RDU International is the least expensive airport to fly from in the state. That is because low-fare Southwest Airlines, which serves RDU, has driven down fares and there is more competition at RDU International than at Charlotte or Greensboro.


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