RDU experiencing 'very steady increases' in travel; carriers begin resuming flights

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- RDU Airport said a pandemic recovery is taking flight in the right direction and is rebounding well. March was the busiest month since the global pandemic began.

"We have a long way to go before we get back to 2019 levels, but we are seeing slow but very steady increases in travel," RDU spokesperson Stephanie Hawco said.

The airport started 2020 with 58 non-stop destinations.

At one point during the pandemic, RDU was down to 21. That means more than half of carriers suspended their flights. RDU lost all international service.

Now, two international flights are back and there is a total of 39 nonstop flights.

The growth means more options for travelers.

Sherri Jackson Boykin travels for work every other week. Her "on-the-go" schedule has pretty much kept up throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and has been a source of frustration

"Not enough flights, not enough options," said Boykin. "Even getting to Atlanta is difficult and that's a hub."

Airlines recently announced they are adding flights to Destin, Florida, and San Francisco.

"That's really significant for the business community here. That was a very popular destination, so we're on the mend."

Businesses are making investments in the airport's future.

La Farm Bakery is opening a spot in Terminal 2 this June and a new burger bar is coming.

RDU is expecting continued passenger growth through April and as more flights come online, it'll help folks around easier.

"I'm glad they're opening up more things. Sometimes, lately, I would have to fly to Charlotte to find at least a cheap enough flight to get to where I need to go," said Boykin.

RDU said an 11th carrier will soon be setting up shop and will offering additional flights.

The CDC is still recommending that people delay travel until they are fully vaccinated.
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