It’s no secret that the Research Triangle Region is growing. People are moving to our area because of our excellent quality of life, well-paying jobs and moderate cost-of-living. And as the population grows, so does air travel, particularly to international destinations from RDU.
About 1.5 million people each year travel to and from RDU and foreign destinations. Currently, we have one daily transatlantic flight to London, three daily flights to Toronto and a handful of seasonal international flights to vacation destinations like Cancun and The Bahamas.
We’re on a mission to add more international nonstop service from RDU. We know we have the passenger traffic right now to add a successful daily flight to either Paris or Frankfurt. These are airports with rich connection opportunities to smaller European cities, the Middle East, India and beyond.
But, we are also looking into the future. As we’ve discussed before, the path to securing new air service, particularly international service is a long one. For our successful San Francisco service, a domestic route, it took nearly a decade and international service takes that long, if not longer to acquire. Beyond Paris or Frankfurt, we also see potential in other regions of the world in the not-so-distant future.
From September 20-23, our air service development team will travel to Chicago to attend World Routes. It’s an annual gathering of airlines and airports from all over the world. The event is set-up similar to the ones we’ve attended in the past, with a series of short 20-minute “speed-dating” meetings with airlines that we request and are matched with.
Our goal is, of course, to move conversations forward with carriers and destinations we are already working on. (Sorry, we can’t share exactly who we’re speaking with.) However, we also want to introduce ourselves and meet with a number of airlines that we’ve never spoken to before in an official capacity.
Our desire is to start laying the groundwork to put RDU on the airlines’ minds and route planning maps. We want them to keep an eye on us, particularly for new international service opportunities. Those could be improved code sharing opportunities and better one-stop connections. Down the road it could turn into weekly charter flights and one day perhaps new nonstop service.
Whatever the possibilities are, we need to start the conversation. And, we want you to join us as we prepare for World Routes in Chicago. Over the next 6 weeks, we’ll share more about our international goals, how our community is connected internationally and what the possibilities for growth are in various regions of the world.
Our Series Continues
Here’s what’s ahead in our series over the next few weeks:
Week 2: Our Connected Community
Week 3: Europe
Week 4: Asia
Week 5: The Middle East and India
Week 6: Other Regions of the World
We’d love to know your questions about international air service from RDU. Ask me in the comments below, and look for next week’s post about our connected community.