Local News

RDU terminal lands on time

Posted January 21, 2011 5:59 p.m. EST

— Raleigh-Durham International Airport will complete the largest construction project in its history this weekend, when it opens the south concourse of Terminal 2.

Work on the $570 million terminal began nine years ago, and the north concourse opened in October 2008. Continental Airlines and US Airways flights will begin landing at the terminal Saturday night.

Concourse C will add 17 gates and 13 shops and restaurants, such as Carolina Vintages wine shop and a Five Guys Burgers, to the terminal. It also features a wide ticketing area designed to speed passengers through.

"A passenger walks in, they check in with their airline, they can easily see the security checkpoint and the concourse," RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said Friday.

An area known as the Meeting Place allows friends and relatives to wait for arriving passengers, and a monitor mounted in the area is connected to a camera that shows travelers coming down the corridor.

Work crews were putting the final touches on the new concourse Friday. They had to speed up the project in recent months after the NHL All-Star Game was awarded to Raleigh last summer.

"We decided it was very important to finish this terminal in time for that, so we are completing it a month early," Hamlin said.

The NHL All-Star Game will be played at the RBC Center on Jan. 30.

Hamlin said Terminal 2 marks a major milestone in the airport's growth.

"This terminal can support 11.4 million passengers. This puts us in a good position for the next 30 to 35 years," she said.

The airport had more than 8.3 million arriving and departing passengers during the first 11 months of 2010.

RDU will begin a major renovation of the decades-old Terminal 1 next year. Officials have said it could cost $60 million and last 18 months.