Local News

Thousands tour new RDU terminal

Posted October 11, 2008 4:44 p.m. EDT
Updated October 11, 2008 6:57 p.m. EDT

— Thousands of people toured the new passenger terminal at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Saturday.

Terminal 2, which replaces the red-roofed Terminal C, is the airport's first new passenger facility in more than 20 years. The first phase of the terminal opens on Oct. 26

American Airlines, Delta, United and Air Canada will operate out of Terminal 2. Other airlines will move to the terminal after the second phase is completed 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.

“It’s beautiful. The architecture (is) really nice. Looks kind of old and new at the same time,” Rhonda Kaye, of Durham, said.

RDU officials said 10 million people flew in and out of the airport last year. Despite recent national economic uncertainty, officials predict only a slight dip in travelers this year.

“This terminal allows us to meet the demand we have from our passengers,” RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said.

Rhonda Kaye’s husband, Ken Kaye, said lately his family has opted for minivan trips instead of flying.

“As a family of four we can’t automatically assume we’re going to fly somewhere,” Ken Kaye said.

The airport has seen a decrease in daily flights from 240 last year to 200.

RDU Airport Director John Brantley hopes the new terminal will give airlines a reason to expand.

“We have a lot of room here to add service, add flights. And even though current times are not so great, the opportunity is there and airlines generally take advantage of the best opportunity,” Brantley said.

The $570 million terminal was financed through bonds backed by revenues from the airlines, businesses within the airport and travel fees, airport officials said.