People tell me all the time stories about the airport. How they used to come out here as children and watch planes take off. How they remember when you could park your car next to the building and walk straight to your plane in minutes flat.
Many also remember the first Terminal A, which was originally an Army barracks, the big blue box and, we can’t forget, the red-roofed Terminal C. I, too, have watched in awe as the airport has evolved into its role as the gateway to the region.
In the 12 years I have been at RDU, one thing I have been able to count on is the public’s interest and support for the airport. In the weeks leading up to the opening of Terminal 2 in 2008, we held an open house for the public. We expected 5,000 people to attend. Boy, were we wrong. More than 7,000 people came out to see what our region’s newest terminal would look like.
We appreciate the support and the interest level, which has remained high as we have undertaken a $68 million modernization of Terminal 1.
As the story goes, the blue box, which opened in 1982, was originally envisioned to become a general aviation hangar after it served as a temporary passenger terminal. Thirty-plus years later, the blue panels have finally come down and a new terminal is taking shape.
When it opens next year, Terminal 1 will feature more natural lighting, a larger security checkpoint and ten shops and restaurants. One of these restaurants will be the country’s first ACC American Café. You will also find Raleigh’s own Char-Grill, where, yes, you will be able to get one of their delicious milkshakes.
This week, we gave the media a sneak peek into Terminal 1. I hope you caught some of the coverage, if not, you can go to our website to see some pictures of what construction looks like today and what Terminal 1 will look like in the future.
I also invite you to follow along with us at rdu.com, where we will continue to post Terminal 1 construction photos and updates.