Local News

Officials: New RDU terminal to keep regional economy aloft

Posted October 9, 2008 5:26 p.m. EDT

— The new passenger terminal at Raleigh-Durham International Airport is an investment in the future of the Triangle, officials said Thursday.

RDU officials gave local officials a preview of the $570 million Terminal 2 on Thursday morning. The public can attend an open house on Saturday, and the terminal will begin serving passengers on Oct. 26.

"There is no comparison. When people walk through here, it's a tremendous gateway to the region," Raleigh City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said. "This is really an investment in the future, especially on the public side because that's what keeps our economy going, especially in difficult times."

Terminal 2, which replaces the red-roofed Terminal C, is the airport's first new passenger facility in more than 20 years. It will open in two phases, with the second phase scheduled to open in 2011.

The north concourse of the terminal will feature 19 gates, seven security checkpoint lanes and 26 shops and restaurants in 550,000 square feet. The south concourse will add 13 gates, another seven security lanes and 17 more retailers.

Fourth District Congressman David Price said the terminal represents how new aviation operations must prepare for the threat of terrorism.

"(Whether it's) checking checked baggage for explosives (or) screening passengers, this airport is configured so as to incorporate that equipment and those procedures to make it just as convenient as possible," Price said.

Architect Curtis Fentress said he tried to blend a bit of style with that convenience. The terminal features tall ceilings, wooden paneling and an open feeling.

"I hope they say, 'Wow, this is exciting,'" Fentress said of people's reaction to the terminal. "It's unique from Charlotte or Greensboro, Washington, D.C., or Denver. ... It's a unique feeling."