This is the third in a 6-part series about RDU’s pursuit of new international air service. Read the series. New posts are added each Friday through September 19.
Ever since the first American Airlines’ nonstop flight to Paris’ Orly Airport in 1988, the Research Triangle Region has been connected to the European continent, benefitting both private travelers and businesses alike. Since 1994, that connection has been through American’s daily nonstop flight to London, now in its 20th year. Today, more people are traveling abroad than one successful flight can accommodate.
Our first stop in a trip around the world takes us to Europe, where we’re actively pursuing new non-stop service to either Paris or Frankfurt because of the abundance of connecting flights from those gateway cities to other destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
But beyond those hubs, what makes Europe so attractive for new air service? Are there other potential cities that could be air service targets? Let’s take a look.
Top Destinations in Europe
More than 791,000 people travel each year to and from Europe from RDU via various routes. But where are they going? Below are the five most traveled to destinations (not connecting points) RDU passengers travel to in Europe:
I’ve shared that many corporations in the region have direct ties to locations in Europe, whether it’s a corporate headquarters, international campus, manufacturing center or location of a large customer base. Here are some examples of local companies with European ties.
|Bayer CropScience||Agriculture||Various, Europe||Clients|
|Deutsche Bank||Financial Services||Frankfurt||Headquarters|
|Credit Suisse||Financial||Zurich, Switzerland||Headquarters|
Other Ties to Europe
We also see a significant amount of traffic heading to Europe due to academic trips by local students. Also, UNC-Chapel Hill has an affiliation with King’s College in London. N.C. State has partnerships with colleges in nine European countries including the Czech Republic, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
How to Get There Now
Many travelers fly non-stop from RDU to London-Heathrow and then connect on to other destinations throughout Europe. Others use hubs in Washington-Dulles, Newark, New York-Kennedy, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte and Philadelphia and other major U.S. destinations to travel to and from Europe.
The clearest opportunity for a new transatlantic service to the continent of Europe is with new non-stop service to either Paris or Frankfurt. We have been working with several different air carriers to establish service to one of these additional transatlantic destinations. Either Paris or Frankfurt offer more than 40 additional one-stop connections throughout Europe and to other continents in Asia, Africa and Middle East.
The future for new, non-stop service from RDU to Europe is very promising. Ultimately, however, it will require community support in partnership with the airport and airlines to make it a recruitment reality and a success.
Next week, we’ll explore opportunities in Asia.