RDU announces plans to keep Thanksgiving travelers safe
Michael Landguth, CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, holds a meeting to discuss the crowds expected Thanksgiving week and the measures RDU will take to keep travelers safe.
turn travel after Thanksgiving last year. Sunday, November 29th expects to be our busiest day of the Thanksgiving holiday, with about 9000 passengers have actually going to be traveling. Remember, that's in comparison to 54,800 passengers on that same day last year. Wednesday, November 25th, is gonna be our second busiest day, with about 8400 customers coming through the facility itself. The current calendar year, starting from January 1 through the end of the year, we anticipate, will do just under about five million total customers. To put that in perspective, we did about 14.2 million customers last year. And remember that five million customers majority of those customers almost three million occurred January, February and March, right before the pandemic took off. So for the remaining nine or so much, we're only gonna do about additional two million total customers coming through this facility so significantly overall down. While there is no travel restrictions currently right now here in the state of North Carolina, we're gonna encourage all of our travelers to check our web page, and we have it right up here. Fly confident, fly are to you. You got our Web page when you click on that splash page. When it first comes up, it's going to take you to every single one of the airlines flies out of already you. When you go to the airline Web page, it will tell you if there any restrictions. Their Web page will tell you if there's any restrictions in terms of where you're flying Thio. I would encourage people to continuously look at that until the day of travel, because those things can change rapidly. We wanna make sure you have most updated information if there are any travel restrictions going to your destination. A recent study by Harvard School of Public Health found that the risk of viral transmission as a result of flying is less than going to the grocery store. So if you're going to the grocery store, you're probably gonna be safe to actually travel through already, you are going to a destination. Airports and airlines are doing everything we can to ensure that everybody is safe, But there's things that our customers could do a swell. So first thing is social distancing. Make sure you maintain social distancing with your in our facilities. Also, make sure you wash your hands on. Probably the most important thing you can do is where a face mask when you're in this facility and getting on board that airplane and going through TSA checkpoint. That's the most important thing like the airline industry argue has, uh, really responded. This global health crisis by making some adjustments, are new. Health and safety measures include the following versus increased the frequency and intensity of our cleaning and disinfecting protocols. So just about anything a customer is going to touch if they're gonna touch an elevator button, a handrail. Ah, countertop. We're constantly only cleaning that. But we're also disinfecting that with CBC approved chemicals. There's new signage, seat covers and floor decals that promotes social distancing and against throughout the terminal itself. So we've got a decal down in the baggage claim. It reminds the customer socially distance were coming through the facility itself. We also have plexiglass shields, a ticket counters and information desk provided barrier between the actual ticket agent and also the customer itself, again trying to ensure the customers are safest possible that come through the facility. And, of course, last but not least, hand sanitizers way have hundreds of hand sanitizers all throughout this facility, and we make sure that they continue to remain full so customers can have hand sanitizers very readily available throughout this entire facility. Do you want to share with you? Over the summer, I shared some statistics regarding a survey that was actually performed by already you. We actually did a second survey that we just completed in the month of November, and the Second Pastor survey indicated that 81% of respondents agree, argue is taking the necessary steps to ensure their overall safety. 81% of those respondents said it's safe to fly through cardio, and of course, we're moving in what I conserve, a very positive direction regarding over our recovery. In July, 37% indicated they would feel safe despite the concerns of Covic in November. That's moved up to 60% so people are feeling more comfortable, especially if they traveled for the first time and they come through facility. They see the cleanliness and what's being done on board the airplane. They're getting more and more confident from traveling standpoint. The number of people who who reported having traveled during the pandemic since July actually doubled. From our last survey results, we're starting to see traffic pickup. We also learned that about two thirds of our customers are actually leisure customers and about one third of those customers, actually business customers. They put that in perspective. In 2019 52% of our customers were business travelers. You can clearly see the recovery has started with the leisure customers, with people wanting to take a little bit of vacation and getting away from the cove It. We're also seeing about a 10% of our customers that air traveling for international, and they're predominately traveling into Mexico in the Cancun. Choose Mexico and the Caribbean. It's really those resort destinations is where we're seeing those international travelers where they're actually going. Thio. People who have traveled during the pandemic report that they their perceptions about safety of travel improved also after taking that first trip. So again, if we can get our customers back in facility, they see the investment we've actually made. You can see what our partners like TSA Air doing to ensure the overall safety, see what the investment the airlines have actually made and listen about the report that Harvard put out that it says it's a safe is going to the grocery store, and I think most of us probably go to the grocery store to get food. You can travel on an airplane. It's part of that survey. The most important takeaways. Social distancing cleanliness argues facilities on the requirements that all passengers, when you come through argue, must wear a face mask. When you enter this facility. When you go through the checkpoint and also we get on board that airplane, I can't stress that enough. That is the best defense we possibly have. A preventing the spread of Cove it not only here at this airport, but across this country. We're encouraged by these recent survey results in the findings from the Harvard study. That again that says that it's a safe is going to your local grocery store. And again our staff is continuing to monitor any new developments from from a health and safety standpoint or new guidelines that come out from CBC to ensure that we are meeting or exceeding. Those standards have been established to protect our travelers as they come through this facility. Now, with me today is Mr Dennis Nelson, his assistant federal security director here, a TSA on. He's going to share with you some of the things that TSA is doing to ensure the overall safety of the customers as they go through the screening checkpoint process. At the conclusion of that, I'll be right back up here. Try to answer some questions along with Dennis on. I'm gonna turn it over to Dennis or that Dennis. Welcome. I'm gonna stand over here. Good morning, everyone. So I'm Dennis Nelson, the assistant federal security director for TSA operations out of Raleigh Durham International Airport. As Mike was alluding to, our projections for this travel season for Thanksgiving is unlike any other year numbers air down way. Still want to remind the traveling public when they do arrive to travel out of already you to please arrive two hours early. That will allow them enough time to complete the entire checking process and the security screening process to ensure there is no delays in their travel periods. A za part of Esa's stay healthy stay Secure campaign. The TSA has invested in the checkpoint screening environments to make them as a robust on mitigate any any kind of cross contamination of covert 19 passengers and our employees. These measures include social distancing, so you'll notice as you enter the checkpoint to you. There is more space available to allow passengers to social distances. They're waiting in line. We've installed acrylic shielding in areas where social distancing is not feasible, uh, to also ensure protection between the passengers and the TSA agents working in the checkpoints we've included. Additional sanitation process is so approximately every 30 minutes we will have the entire checkpoint sanitized all screening services that a passenger with touch or come in contact with sanitized. We've brought out new technologies, one of which is credential authentication technology. What that technology allows for is less hand to hand contact with items being passed back and forth between the screening agent when they're going through the ticket document check stations. Additionally, we installed C T X ray machines on essentially what these new X ray machines allow our for passengers to reduce the amount of items that they have to divest when they're going through the security screening process. So again, all of these measures are to reduce the amount of touch points between touchpoints interactions between passengers and theme the traveling public hand sanitizer. So TSA has modified the 3.4 rules for hand sanitizer specifically wear now, allowing hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces uh, to go through the screening checkpoint. There may be an additional screening process involved with that specific item, but we are allowing that at this time. Lastly, I'd like to interject that it's a good point in time to enroll in TSA is pre check program. Typically, nationwide TSA passengers who are pre checked less wait in line about five minutes or less. UH, so that would also help speed process in case someone wanting to travel during this holiday season are moving into the winter holidays, the last subject I'd like to explain as Thanksgiving food items. So we recommend if you're gonna have a carry on bag with food items for Thanksgiving to please ensure that those are properly packaged and also placed into a clear plastic bag before you head to the airport. When you do get to the checkpoint, you can divest that entire plastic bag that you could see through into a dive. Esther been on. That will also decrease the amount of cross contamination going into the food items aside going through the screening process. Additionally, if you can spill it, spread it, pump it or pour it. It's highly recommended that you probably package those items and place them in your checked baggage, especially if they're over the 3.4 rule. And lastly, if you have any questions regarding what you can or cannot bring through the TSA screening checkpoint, we recommend you go to the T s, a dot gov website. There are some formats in there where you can enter in questions, and there's also a F A Q list of items you can cannot bring through. That's all I have at this time. Thank you, Dennis. I want to also recognize this Beth Walker. She's our federal security director. She's here is well today, along with Dennis on again. They are great partners here. TSA from a security standpoint, but you're not only our customers get on board that airplane safely, but they can also do it in a safe health standpoint as well. So that will kind of go to questions. Yes, sir. A couple questions for you. Soft. Have any statistics on on flights that have been canceled, Rescheduled as a result of after volume and how that is e don't have that with me. But what we'll do is we'll try to get our communications team to get with you. I will tell you at the beginning of Covic, we saw a lot of cancelations that would put the service in. They would cancel it out. Uh, and kind of the summer months. They really kind of got their schedules, work out. What? They're not doing a lot of that any more. They're trying to make sure that schedules in there for the month that they're going to try to fly that as best they possibly can. But let us go and do We'll pull that information down for you. Provided to you. Okay. Now, taking a bit more of a long term look. Obviously Christmas and New Year's coming up. Talk to us about how you're going. Thio, Uh, watch how things unfolded this we could have that, uh, impact for holidays. Waiter here. Yeah, so we'll start looking, especially during peak time. What does traffic look like coming through this facility? Uh, one thing we didn't mention is we developed a new department within our organization is called a Terminal Operations Team Terminal operations team. Mr Dan Miller, who's kind of hiding back there. He is in charge of that. He leads several folks, an organization that air here, one to monitor the TSA checkpoint lanes in case they spill out. So we start getting large numbers of people to maintain social distancing, will have different areas within the facility itself. We can cue that up, and so Dannon, under his leadership and his team, will be able to monitor that. So they're going to monitor what happens during this Thanksgiving holiday period, and then we'll see if we have to make any adjustments for the upcoming Christmas period and Hanukkah period. We'll look at also the airline schedules well, to see if we see any peaking way called peaky, meeting lots of people off the same time. Trying to come facility will need to provide resource is to separate people out. So we're gonna monitor that on. We'll see what it looks like for for the rest of the calendar year and obviously way. We're here doing live shots every year, this time here, and it's usually crazy we have those lines. What's it like here right now and see your daughter's many people? It's kind of a weird feeling. Yeah, it is a weird feeling. And after you guys remember in April of this year way had 4% of our customers come through facility and literally in the month of February were contemplating adding nine additional gates over Terminal one on. We went from February to March, putting the brakes on that particular project, so it's hard to watch. But I will tell you, you've got a good team of people here. They're looking out for the best interest of our customers to make sure they're safe and healthy. And we're gonna be here when they're ready to come back and fly on. We're gonna grow again. This is a great community. This is a growing community on. We wanna make sure we're here. Provide the air transportation that's needed to support the economic growth for the community. Yes, sir. House compliance. Been on the master. Oh, I think in general we're seeing lots of people that are recognizing the benefit of wearing a mask. One of the functions of our terminal operations team. Is it somebody comes in facility and they for gotten to wear their masks way will go over there and just simply remind them there's a requirement coming facility. Uh, typically, when our team does that, they're very compliant and just I forgot about the mask. You know, this is not you know, this is something new for all of us, so sometimes it's just an oversight. And so the team is trying to make sure engage of customers. Well, people recognize that you know whether your ticket counter airlines won't handle handle you if you don't have a mask on TSA won't handle you. You can't get on board the airplane. It's a common thing. You gotta wear your mask when you come inside that facility. And so we're getting a pretty good compliance. Yes, ma'am. Uh, as far as security level, I know what we're talking about. A safety hoping, talking about changing that language coming on through. What are we doing as far as security? Oh, what you could say that. So what I can say is that the security levels the TSA has in place have not modified, even though we're allowing certain items to come through such as the hand sanitizer at a higher level that items specifically has to go through additional screening process to ensure it is, in fact, hand sanitizer. So where we are giving some, uh, reduced leeway in regards to some of the more permanent rules the TSA has in place with passengers could bring through the checkpoint. There are additional screening procedures being done to ensure that those items are, in fact safe. Thanks, everybody. You know, I appreciate that. It's like you have a great holiday to be pushing up passengers through. Yeah. Thank yeah. Correct. Yes. Good night. Good morning. Oh, I'm sorry. E very happy moving out.