MIAMI – Raleigh/Durham Airport (RDU) has announced two incentive programs to keep the airport competitive for airlines to resume services and promote growth, the airport’s website stated on October 15.

RDU Airport Authority President and CEO Michael Landguth stated in the webpage that “we anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a considerably smaller airline industry with fierce competition among airports,”

The CEO adds that “our new recruitment strategy positions RDU at the front of the line when airlines resume service on routes they dropped during the health crisis,” with the goal of restoring “all 57 nonstop routes RDU served pre-pandemic and expand from there.”

RDU. Photo: Wiki Commons

Concentrating on Two Different Aspects

“RDU’s first incentive program is designed to attract new airlines and new service on previously unserved routes. The second focuses on recovery and is designed to incentivize a return to service of RDU’s previously served year-round international markets, including London (LHR) – American Airlines; Montreal (YUL), Air Canada; Paris (CDG) – Delta Air Lines; and Toronto (YYZ), Air Canada. Both programs offer a 12-month waiver of airport landing fees for qualifying service, with a cap of $1,000,000 per fiscal year for the standard program and a $700,000 per fiscal year cap for the recovery program,” the website stated.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic RDU had 57 nonstop services, with five of those international. As of today RDU has 39 nonstops, all of those domestic.

The program starts on November 1, with the first international services on November 19. On this day, JetBlue (B6) starts services to Cancun (CUN) and Montego Bay (MBJ), after eight months of no international nonstops.

Southwest Airlines Landing at RDU Airport. Photo: Wiki Commons

Traffic at RDU Has Been Holding Steady

“TSA screened nearly 310,000 departing passengers at RDU in September – down 72% from September 2019 and down 3% from August 2020.

The number of average daily departures in September was 89, down from 227 in 2019 and 102 in August 2020,” the webpage said.

Raleigh_Durham International Airport satellite view. Photo: Wiki Commons

Airline November Schedule Adjustments

According to the website, “Southwest cut the number of available seats by 60% for November and 65% for December,” whereas American “reduced its available seats by 71% for November,” and United “made a 65% reduction compared to 2019.”

Delta, on the other hand, added seats to the schedule, with “Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO) and Tampa (TPA) from five times a week to once a day service,” the site stated.

RDU’s current capacity for the month of November is estimated to be 11% higher than that of October.

Featured image: RDU Tower. Photo: Wiki Commons