It is hard for me to believe that I arrived at RDU just one year ago. I am in aviation, so I have to say this — time flies.
I moved to the Research Triangle Region from Chattanooga about this time last year, and one of the first things I learned was that this region is rich in education, industry and culture. All of the things an airport and community need to be successful.
Before I arrived at RDU, the airport had completed 20 years marked by major infrastructure improvements. In those years, RDU completed new parking facilities, a General Aviation terminal, and the crown jewel, Terminal 2. When I arrived at RDU, the inevitable question was: What’s next?
Over the last year, RDU staff and I have been asking ourselves that question as we have kicked off an intensive strategic planning process that will guide the airport’s growth and focus over the next several years. Two areas that play an important part of strategic planning are air service development and customer service.
As Teresa Damiano explained in her last two posts, the aviation industry is changing and the way a region recruits new service is becoming more competitive. As a result, airports, and communities are working more closely together than ever before to tell their story to airlines and illustrate how the community will support additional service.
I have spent much of the last year visiting local economic development organizations, Chambers of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureaus to learn more about what their needs are and to identify ways that we can work together to support our region’s growth.
Another area RDU staff and I will continue to focus on is customer service programs that improve the passenger experience. We recently launched a hybrid wifi program that offers a complimentary option to casual users and a paid option for power users. Our customers have been unanimous in their praise. But what can we do next? How will technology continue to change the way our passengers travel? What is next on the horizon?
These are just some of the things we have been focusing on at RDU this year. I am glad to be here, and look forward to helping you get to where you’re going on your next trip.