As far as we know, there aren’t any ghosts lurking on the concourse of Terminal 2. We’ve had no reported sightings of phantom planes heading toward our runway in the wee hours of the night. But there is a mystery at the airport, and it’s found in our data. It has to do with Mexico City.
There’s no non-stop service from RDU to Mexico City. Yet travel to Mexico’s capital has increased dramatically in the past few years, and our air service analysts are stumped as to why. Perhaps you can help solve the mystery.
What we know
In air service terminology, the phrase passengers per day each way, abbreviated PDEW, tells us how many people travel between two cities. You expect that number to be high for cities that have non-stop connections and a little lower for those that don’t.
In 2009, the PDEW for Mexico City was 20. Today, it’s 34. That’s close to double in just four years. That means each day, an average of 34 people begins their travels at RDU and end at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City. Not connecting, but ending their trip there. And the same average is on the return.
At first glance, that seems like a tiny increase, but trust us, that’s quite a jump in passenger volume.
There’s a wealth of data available to airline and airport planners. In that data we can see how those 34 people daily connect to Mexico City. It generally happens three ways:
- Atlanta, a Delta hub
- Houston, an United hub
- Dallas, an American hub
The increase is so huge that it’s caused the growth of traffic to Mexico City to outpace traffic to cities like Albuquerque, Dayton, Tulsa and Honolulu. The city is also now on our list of top five international markets passengers travel to from RDU.
- Mexico City
What we’re missing is why. Why do so many people travel between RDU and Mexico City each day? What is the purpose of their travel? What’s the connection between our cities? The answer isn’t easily found, even as we work closely with our chambers of commerce and economic development partners.
So why is this important? We want to know what the ties are to Mexico City so that we can work with airlines on improving air service. At 34 people per day, we aren’t expecting new non-stop service in the near future, but we could see more convenient connections and our air service staff could begin lobbying for one-stop, same plane service.
The bottom line: There’s a mystery in the data regarding Mexico City, and we’d like your help to understand what is drawing people to that particular destination each day. Is there a business or industry connection from that area? Is it a popular vacation spot? Once we solve the mystery, we’ll be working to make the trip from RDU easier.
Can you solve this mystery? Tell me in the comments below!