Going International: The Emergence of Asia

This is the fourth 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.

People are traveling from RDU to Asia in ever-increasing numbers.

People are traveling from RDU to Asia in ever-increasing numbers.

Though we are half a world away, our region has many connections to Asia, and people are traveling there in ever-increasing numbers. Therefore it makes sense for us to take a hard look at the international air service opportunities that exist in Asia.

While we don’t think that regularly scheduled non-stop service from RDU to an Asian city is in the near future, we do see the potential for limited non-stop service (a few days a week) as a possibility. Also, as more fuel-efficient aircraft come into existence, dreams of daily RDU-Asia nonstop service could one day become a reality. 

What Asian cities are most popular with RDU travelers?  What should be our focus as we improve one-stop connections? Let’s take a look.

Seoul is one of the top destinations from RDU travelers to Asia.

Seoul is one of the top destinations from RDU travelers to Asia.

Top Destinations in Asia

More than 262,000 people travel each year between Asia and RDU via various routes.  Here are the cities that are the most popular from RDU.

  1. Beijing
  2. Shanghai
  3. Tokyo
  4. Seoul
  5. Hong Kong 

Corporate Connections

The following companies are examples of those with offices in our region that also have offices throughout Asia.

Company Industry City Reason
Lenovo Technology Beijing Headquarters
Eisai Pharmaceutical Tokyo Headquarters
RTI International Research Jakarta, Indonesia Regional Office
IBM Technology Shanghai Regional Office
DuPont Chemical Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul Regional Offices

Other Ties To Asia

We also see a significant amount of traffic heading to Asia due to partnerships with local universities. Campbell University has a campus affiliation in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Duke University has a campus in Kunshan, China, which is near Shanghai. They also have a campus in Singapore. N.C. State University has partnerships with colleges and universities in China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Duke University has a campus in Singapore.

Duke University has a campus in Singapore.

Opportunities in Asia

Today, we are supporting our region’s travel to Asia through the improvement of one stop connections. The most convenient connections from RDU to Asia are through New York airports, Detroit, Washington-Dulles, Chicago-O’Hare, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Dallas Ft.-Worth and Atlanta also provide some non-stop connectivity.

We’re also working to add Seattle to our domestic offerings, which would bring more connecting opportunities. And, we’re looking to target the cities within Asia that provide the best gateways to other Asian destinations.

As we continue to work on developing international air service, we will explore the possibility of limited weekly flights with Asian carriers because demand will continue to grow as our region grows.

Does your company have ties to Asia? Do you fly there often from RDU? Let me know in the comments below, we’re always looking at how our community is connected.

Next week, we’ll explore opportunities in the Middle East and India.

About Andrew Sawyer

Andrew Sawyer is the External Communication Specialist for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and is the main writer for RDU’s website, electronic communication and airport publications. He’s also the primary face behind RDU’s social media channels. Andrew also assists with many other things, from media relations to event planning. In fact, he has an advanced degree in "other duties as assigned."
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4 Responses to Going International: The Emergence of Asia

  1. EMC also has major facilities in Beijing and Shanghai. I’ve been to Beijing 3 times in the past 18 months and Shanghai once in that timeframe. I always connect through Dulles, Newark or Chicago to/from direct flights.

  2. Craig says:

    I travel to Shanghai 3-4 times per year as part of Duke’s activities in the region. A non-stop to SEA seems like a productive medium-term approach, taking advantage of it’s recent growth as an Asia gateway, and existing PDEW with RDU.

  3. Alison says:

    ok 262,000 people travel to Asia a year. That means an average of 717.8 people start at RDU and end up in Asia. If so these numbers can support a daily a380 to the biggest hub in Asia PEK Airport. Why cane even a 777-200LR Fly Even 3x weekly to RDU. The 777-200LR hold about 290 passengers. Thats just a fraction of the 717 a day. Could you guys please let me know the O & D to the biggest Asian destinations Example Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong. Thanks!

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