RDU’s Non-Stop Destination Wishlist

Recently, I shared our top 10 most popular non-stop destinations. Many of you asked, “What new cities would RDU like to add to its destination list?” Below are the top 10 U.S. cities that, based on historic passenger demand, we would like airlines to add to our non-stop list. I have also added some interesting facts about each route.

10. San Jose.

Passengers Per Day, Each Way (PDEW): 70

The business connections between RDU and SJC are strong and related to the high tech industries we share, but the city is very close to SFO, where non-stop service exists.

San Juan

San Juan

9. San Juan.

PDEW: 71

San Juan is a major tourist destination and is a connecting point for flights destined to other popular Caribbean cities.

8. New Orleans

PDEW: 75

Tourism is a driving force of New Orleans’ economy. It is also supported by oil/gas and related activities, the port and ship/boat building and aerospace manufacturing.

Providence

Providence

7. Providence

PDEW: 75

Non-stop service to Providence has been successful in the past, but three facts are challenging us today. Current demand is lower and airlines are retiring the use of smaller regional jets, which have provided service to the city in the past. Also, the destination is close to Boston which has nonstop service from RDU.

6. Portland

PDEW: 82

Portland is an “almost there” city, meaning that the demand right now is a little low, but almost there to justify non-stop service to the airlines. It’s also very expensive to fly non-stop across the country since you can get only one roundtrip per plane per day and it uses a lot of fuel.

453688785-buffalo

Buffalo

5. Buffalo

PDEW: 98

This is a growing market with a diversified economy based on financial services, life science research and services, and high-technology and computer equipment manufacturing. Buffalo is considered one of the most wired municipalities in the U.S., with extensive fiber optic networks that are attractive to the high-tech entrepreneur.

4. Kansas City

PDEW: 108

More people fly between RDU and MCI each day via connecting points than those who fly nonstop from RDU to Pittsburgh. Just a few more passengers are needed to make this a financially viable long distance flight to the center of the U.S. where agribusiness is a big interest on both sides of the market.

San Diego

San Diego

3. San Diego

PDEW: 116

San Diego is firmly in our sights, although there are a few challenges. A flight of that distance takes a plane out of service for an entire day. It is financially risky for airlines to commit one plane to only making 2 trips per day, unless it can be guaranteed to have little or no empty seats.

2. Austin

PDEW: 118

From industries to culture, the synergies between RDU and AUS are nearly endless, and that’s why this is #2 on our list. So, what is the hang-up? Some air carriers would have to overfly a few of their hubs. In today’s economy, airlines often link passengers to cities by first flying them to one of their hub airports. From here, passengers can catch another flight to their final destination. This business model helps guarantee full or near-full flights. But there are exceptions to this rule, take RDU to SFO as an example, and therefore, we believe non-stop RDU-AUS service will become a reality.

Seattle

Seattle

1Seattle         

PDEW: 165

Did you know more people travel to Seattle from RDU each day than to Miami, Washington-Reagan, Detroit, St. Louis or Houston?  There is great demand for service to Seattle, which is 2,354 air miles from RDU. That distance requires a large plane and a healthy amount of fuel, which as we know, isn’t cheap. There’s also the overflying the hubs issue. But, we’re working very hard on making RDU-SEA a reality.

Want to dig deeper? Check out these blog posts by my colleagues to learn what it takes to recruit new air service to our region.

About Dave Young

Dave Young is the Director of Air Service Development for RDU. In this capacity Dave acts as the advocate for RDU to the airline industry, promoting the benefits of RDU and the region. As a self-proclaimed “airline guy” Dave has a habit of referring to things in 3 letter codes.
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14 Responses to RDU’s Non-Stop Destination Wishlist

  1. Brian says:

    Delta can do Seattle nonstop! They can use it to link to Asian flights they’re trying to build up there. It’s becoming a hub for them, but they have to deal with their frenemy, Alaska Airlines there.

  2. Chris says:

    Why Buffalo instead of Louisville? Louisville is about the same size market and is not suffering a large population decline like Buffalo. When you had direct service through Midway and later Delta and Express Jet, the flights I was on were always nearly full.

    • Chris, thanks for the insight and your interest in RDU. To compile this list, we looked at how many people were traveling between the two cities each day, each way via connections. RDU-Buffalo is 98 passengers per day while RDU-Louisville is 41 per day. Many of the express flights used smaller regional jet aircraft that had a low seat capacity. Airlines are in a phase where they are retiring use of those jets in favor of larger planes with better fuel efficiency. Thus, they’re looking to serve markets with more passengers that can sustain those flights. We hope this helps. Thanks!

  3. Great list. Without looking at the numbers, they all make sense. I wouldn’t be surprise if Kansas City, Seattle, and Austin become reality. I believe IBM is in both RDU and MCI, I thought AA has a one-stop thru DFW for AUS (how many Thru pax are on that one?), and Seattle might make sense if Alaska wanted to start aggressively going after market share in Delta’s backyard. As a leisure traveler, these are all places I like to visit.

  4. Kris says:

    RDU to AUS as well as RDU to MCI were flown by WN (Southwest) back in or around 2000-2001. Have PAX volumes increased that much to each destination or has the fact that airlines have been able to charge more now then back then to allow these routes to be come more attractive? If memory serves me correct I believe the routing Southwest was flying then was RDU-MCI-SJC and RDU-AUS-SAN. Funny how all of those cities are again back on the “Top 10″ list.

  5. nathan erteschik says:

    A few years ago Delta almost started RDU to Paris. Would be great to have that considered again.

  6. Carol Wakely says:

    STILL wishing you would bring back the Raleigh to Milwaukee route that was here for a while. There is not any good way to get to Wisconsin !! :) Thanks

  7. Misha says:

    Please get some more flights going from RDU to PIT(Pittsburgh)..US airways has a non-stop service but it goes at very odd timings like 3:30pm on fridays…Its very expensive too.Something on friday evening will be good and if more flights go then the prices will come down too.

  8. Howarddabur says:

    I am wondering if RDU has made any headway on an RDU – SEA nonstop flight, I myself know MANY people who would love to make Seattle a nonstop destination.

    • Seattle is our number 1 nonstop destination goal. We are actively pursuing the route with a variety of air carriers. However, it is ultimately the airlines’ decision to begin the service and it does take a long time to acquire new service. Thanks for hanging in there with us!

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