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Christmas in 2010 May Be Much Different at RDU

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RDU INTERNATIONAL — RDU International Airport is bustling this Christmas weekend. As travelers filled the airport, officials unveiled plans for a bigger and better Terminal A.

The Airport Authority plans to destroy and completely rebuild Terminal A. The nearly $1 billion project will start in 2003 and is expected to take about seven years to finish.

The new million-square-foot terminal will have more room for ticket agents and space for 17 additional gates. RDU spokesman Mike Blanton says future plans prompted the project.

"A number of the airlines that operate in Terminal A have significant plans for expansion," he says. "They can't add that service and add those destinations, given the constraints we have physically in this building."

The current Terminal A opened in 1981. Officials say it is overcrowded and will get worse as RDU's exponential growth continues.

RDU's original plan to overhaul and expand the terminal was dropped in favor of the new plan. Consultants said the first plan would cost more than anticipated, take longer and be more inconvenient for passengers.

A major question facing the Airport Authority is how to pay for the ambitious expansion. New fee hikes approved earlier this year would be insufficient. From staff and wire reports

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Chip Muller, Reporter
Greg Clark, Photographer
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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