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Rufus

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Maybe I don't understand the enormity of the issues here, but couldn't terminal A have been incorporated into the new terminal? Wouldn't it be good just to have them all in one building. I think it's possible, especially in these times of historic cutbacks. We all know the airlines are going to flounder, go under, merge, and cut flights, so why not wait until all that's settled in a another 2-3 years, then just put them all together in the new terminal and destroy the old one, or limit its use to a few airlines. I'm just putting this out there for further discussion. I do not actually endorse this idea.

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Maybe I don't understand the enormity of the issues here, but couldn't terminal A have been incorporated into the new terminal? Wouldn't it be good just to have them all in one building. I think it's possible, especially in these times of historic cutbacks. We all know the airlines are going to flounder, go under, merge, and cut flights, so why not wait until all that's settled in a another 2-3 years, then just put them all together in the new terminal and destroy the old one, or limit its use to a few airlines. I'm just putting this out there for further discussion. I do not actually endorse this idea.

Airline service is cyclic and you never want to completely cut yourself out of available gate space. If RDU was to demolish terminal A, then they would be out 20+ gates. As it goes now, Terminal 2 will still be pretty full with just the legacy carriers in it. Remember that there is no hub or large focus operation at RDU (well, AA was kinda but not large) so most of the legacy operations are not overly exaggerated. Even though they may be cutting now, eventually they will start adding flights back.

The space is actually warranted. Plus, the addition of Terminal 1 doesn't add a lot more to the table because they are only doing cosmetic changes (eventually) to the terminal and it is a VERY sound building.. unlike Terminal C was.. And it provides a lower fee options for LCC that don't want to pay the high fees of Termina. 2..

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It's very sad that we won't be able to see the 777 anymore after November however not all is lost. AA has just started installing winglets on their 763s so when November does role around we will have something to look forward to. All of their 763ERs are suppose to recieve winglets so over time if we don't get the 777 back as we have before we should see more and more 767s with winglets. FYI the winglets are huge! (11 feet tall)

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Back to my concerns that we may not even need a terminal 1 AND 2, today it was announced that Midwest Express is pulling out of RDU. Also, comments from the CEO of US Airways that, (paraphrased): If oil prices remain at current levels, fares will skyrocket and air travel will once again become a luxury, as it was before deregulation. Additionally, if fuel costs don't retreat, Parker says airline schedules will likely continue to be trimmed until big cities account for the bulk of the nation's flights.

Where will this leave RDU? Of course there is demand for flying still, it showed in last months passenger loads, but how long will it hold when a trip to New York goes up to $500?

Any ideas from other forum members on the gloom and doom?

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Back to my concerns that we may not even need a terminal 1 AND 2, today it was announced that Midwest Express is pulling out of RDU. Also, comments from the CEO of US Airways that, (paraphrased): If oil prices remain at current levels, fares will skyrocket and air travel will once again become a luxury, as it was before deregulation. Additionally, if fuel costs don't retreat, Parker says airline schedules will likely continue to be trimmed until big cities account for the bulk of the nation's flights.

Where will this leave RDU? Of course there is demand for flying still, it showed in last months passenger loads, but how long will it hold when a trip to New York goes up to $500?

Any ideas from other forum members on the gloom and doom?

I am not one of the gloom and doomers. Take a look at Europe and the much higher fuel prices that they have been dealing with way much longer than us. Yes, things will change. Yes, we may not need terminal 1 redone as soon as they may have thought. But this is a good thing for the airport, please don't yell, (in the long run!). No one wants to see flights cancelled but just like the school systems, catching up is not always a bad thing! IMHO!

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As we have all seen, it appears most or all of flight in and out of RDU are full. What I have seen a lot of lately and just yesterday, the airlines are having a big issue with scheduling of crew members. I guess as they have cut or not hired, it seems lately that flights are pushed back because the flight attendents or pilots are not there.

Just yesterday, I had some contacts coming into RTP for a 2 hour lunch meeting and they were to be here at 10:00am but got here at 12:30 coming out of Boston as they waited on crew.

I don't buy all the doom and gloom but I do think it is bad. Airlines need to rethink and hopefully the investors will push them to succeed and make the right decisons, not just to raise revenue every quarter.

Edited by Subway Scoundrel
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  • 5 weeks later...

RDU sets the date for the opening of Terminal 2..

October 26 will be the first day of operation of Phase 2 of Terminal 2. On October 25, flights will continue to land on the South Councourse of Terminal 2. During the night, all aircraft and equipment will be moved to the new Concourse D (North Concourse) of Terminal 2. American, American Eagle, American Connection, United, United Express, Air Canada Jazz, and Charter Express will occupy the concourse on October 26. Delta and Delta Connection will move 2 weeks later.

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There will be a public "open house" tour of the new terminal on October 11th, and the official opening date has been set as October 26th.

I got a chance to tour the new terminal this morning. The general feel is that this is an awesome building. There wasn't really anything from a design or conceptual standpoint that I would call revolutionary, but the execution seems excellent. I think they managed to execute all the elements of a modern airport design while still avoiding the sterile, ultra-high-tech feel that many new airports seem plagued with. The result is a very relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.

Ticketing has been arranged as several "islands" rather than one desk backed up against the wall, to reduce congestion and relieve what in my opinion was the worst bottleneck in terminal C. Modularity and adaptability are themes throughout. Ticketing counter or gate can be reassigned to a different airline at a moment's notice. There will be 40 automated ticket machines in phase I of the new Terminal 2, and many of them will be configured to work for any airline. The PA system and flight status system is all unified. Above the information kiosks (where terminal maps, etc will be posted) there will be some large flat screen monitors that are actually a part of the public address system. When a passenger is being paged, not only will their voice come over the intercom, their name will also be displayed on the monitors.

The theme of the building is "Hand-made; Mind-made" and that influenced the choice of materials. There are a lot of earthy tones; granite, wood, stainless steel, and glass are the primary materials. The floors are a beautiful checkered tan and cream terrazzo. (I love terrazzo.) The whole terminal building is bathed in natural light. The ceilings are very high and there are no columns supporting it in the middle of the floor; this makes the airport seem very wide open and it has a bit of a calming effect. When completed, the concourse is actually not going to be much longer than Terminal C was, but it feels much larger and more wide open (compared to the rather confining and narrow pressure cooker that is Terminal C.)

Security is beefed up a lot in comparison with terminal C. Where C has 3 or 4 lines for security, phase I of terminal 2 has 7 lanes, and phase II will add 3 more. There's a knock-out wall with empty space behind it so that the TSA can expand if new security procedures are implemented that require more equipment. I never really had a problem with security in Terminal C (ticketing is another issue) but since all the legacy carriers will be operating out of Terminal 2, the additional area for the checkpoint will be nice.

There are 3 dual-purpose gates which can be used for international or domestic flights. There's a REALLY COOL walkway that brings passengers from the gate to customs. Customs is a lot nicer (and larger) than Term C as well.

There's a whole bunch of retail spaces, including duty free, and also two stores (a drugstore type place and I think a sandwich place (called Panopolis) that will be located in the unsecured area of the terminal. 42nd Street Oyster Bar and Carolina Ale House are the two flagship tenants (pictures below.) They'll have some "sidewalk dining" space where they have tables outside of the enclosed area of the restaurant. Looks like it will be pretty cool.

And last, but certainly not least, there will be outlets... lots of outlets! 15% of all the seats in the terminal will be equipped with power plugs. Evidently some seats will also have USB plugs as well for things that charge off of USB. (Now that I think of it, both my Ipod Shuffle and my Razr charge off of USB.)

All in all, I am very impressed. I really can't think of any other airport terminal I've been in that looks quite as good as this one, and I've been to quite a few.

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rdu_screens.jpg

rdu_welcometonc.jpg

There are my two favorite pictures.. a real update flight schedule (instead of the old tube black and white or crappy color tvs that were once there) and the classic looking "Welcome to North Carolina" sign.. that is way sweet.. now if they could only put a RAM underneath the sign.. in Carolina blue.. mmm.. sweet!!!

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"Welcome to North Carolina"???? Are you KIDDING ME? We are so politically correct now that we can't bear to actually put the cities served by the terminal on the freakin' wall?

Looks great, but for half a billion dollars, it better look great. I still see no reason why this building, minus the gates, couldn't have been built next the decks, and connected to existing gates with people movers. Tell Southwest that they HAVE to play our game. I'm sick of the airport authority being the tail while the dog satisfies its own whims.

Did you count the number of steps from the curb to the average gate?

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Thanks so much for the photos! The miniscule coverage the N&O gave to this is embarrassing compared to these photos. Sure can't wait to have the whole thing done (both halves of Terminal 2) and looking gorgeous. It looks world class and very accommodating to large crowds. Let's hope the industry will be able to fill it up with more flights, especially international.

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"Welcome to North Carolina"???? Are you KIDDING ME? We are so politically correct now that we can't bear to actually put the cities served by the terminal on the freakin' wall?

Looks great, but for half a billion dollars, it better look great. I still see no reason why this building, minus the gates, couldn't have been built next the decks, and connected to existing gates with people movers. Tell Southwest that they HAVE to play our game. I'm sick of the airport authority being the tail while the dog satisfies its own whims.

Did you count the number of steps from the curb to the average gate?

That escalator with the "welcome to north carolina" sign is from the customs/passport checking area, down to the baggage claim. Honestly I'm glad they put "North Carolina" rather than "Raleigh - Durham" because if they put "Raleigh / Durham" that perpetuates the myth that Raleigh and Durham are actually one city, only hyphenated (like Winston-Salem.) It would be simpler if it just said "Raleigh", but that won't fly; Durham owns the airport too.

As for steps from the curb to the gate, I did not count them. Did you mean to count the number of paces, or to count the number of stairs? If you mean the number of paces, this is going to be exactly the same as old Terminal C, since the footprint of the new terminal is essentially the same. When Phase II is completed, the concourse will be nearly a half mile long. If you mean stairs, you come in at ticketing level. You go down one level to get to concourse level. There is a stairway, my guess about 20 steps, to get down there, but there is also an escalator and several elevators.

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That escalator with the "welcome to north carolina" sign is from the customs/passport checking area, down to the baggage claim. Honestly I'm glad they put "North Carolina" rather than "Raleigh - Durham" because if they put "Raleigh / Durham" that perpetuates the myth that Raleigh and Durham are actually one city, only hyphenated (like Winston-Salem.) It would be simpler if it just said "Raleigh", but that won't fly; Durham owns the airport too.

As for steps from the curb to the gate, I did not count them. Did you mean to count the number of paces, or to count the number of stairs? If you mean the number of paces, this is going to be exactly the same as old Terminal C, since the footprint of the new terminal is essentially the same. When Phase II is completed, the concourse will be nearly a half mile long. If you mean stairs, you come in at ticketing level. You go down one level to get to concourse level. There is a stairway, my guess about 20 steps, to get down there, but there is also an escalator and several elevators.

I meant footsteps.

Nothing wrong with saying "Welcome to Raleigh and Durham". The airport, afterall, is RDU, not NCU. One of my pet-peeves is when bands at concerts say,"Hello, North Carolina". I bet they don't say that in Phoenix, Little Rock, Nashville, Minneapolis, etc.

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  • 1 month later...

The terminal looks great, but as I left, I found myself unmoved. It is insane to spend $570 million on a terminal with just 4 extra gates. Yeah yeah, operations will run smoother. That could have been handled with a renovation of Terminal C. The arriving passengers have to go up an escalator, then down an escalator to get to baggage claim. That seems pretty idiotic. Even worse, we still are managing two airports across the street from each other. Two or three separate ticketing, baggage, security, and parking operations all exist on one property. I shake my head. Meanwhile the embarrassing blue monster sits across the street, handling most of our passengers...

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With the expected continued decline in air travel due to oil prices, you could make an argument that we may not need the space we have or will have after #2 is complete. I saw your blog post on the airport and you might be right that they should have considered building one central terminal with two concourses. There are obvious benefits to consolidation, so I'm not really sure why they proceeded as they did. Obviously with the massive central parking deck being built there several years ago, that decision was made quite a while ago, though I agree that it may have been short-sighted.

According to this press release, the current design is based on a master plan done in the late 1990s, though I can't find it. Part of the problem is that things have changed so rapidly post-9/11 that by the time you complete a master plan and build these terminals, it might be unecessary. According to RDU, the initial plan was focused on Terminal A (1), but never a central terminal.

In 1994, the Authority developed a nearly $1 billion plan to build a temporary terminal, demolish overcrowded Terminal A and build a new, larger terminal. This plan was put on hold after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to assess the status of the aviation industry and to examine other opportunities for terminal development.

In 2002, the Airport Authority was given the opportunity to purchase American Airlines

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You're right. There are many bigger cities with much worse airports. I haven't been to those mentioned, but Miami's is awful.

They have absolutely had a ton of unforeseen factors. I recall a plan to extend C's concourse via an underground connector (boy would THAT have been inconvenient). Certainly that is a design that is only useful with a hub (where most traffic doesn't need to get back to baggage.). And, I'll concede that Terminal C was built "to be a hub" ie: the front end of it was WAY to puny to support 26 gates of destination traffic. They were banking on most of those people just going to another gate, so you don't build a big security operation or a big baggage claim operation. They also didn't foresee American Airlines pulling out and essentially letting Terminal C fall apart. AA did an awful job of maintaining that facility. Thankfully they folded and let RDU control it.

I will say, that given this Logan, BFW, Kennedy design, and given the cost factors and logistical issues with A and C (including that Southwest insists on keeping B like it is), they are doing a good job. I just prefer that we go for a better long term design than piecing together this and that over the years. We changed/renovated/added to the civic center for years. Ultimately it was smart to just start over. The other piece of info I left out is that the new Terminal A will cost well over 1 billion.

I just feel like that guy who didn't like the future possibilities of the civic center when it opened in the 70's. Other cities were building true convention centers. We built an El Camino and ended up having to replace it. Meanwhile Atlanta has simply added on to their World Congress Center and are way farther along with that facility. The old Charlotte Coliseum comes to mind, too. They built 12 sky boxes into it. Bad design that cost the city the entire facility ultimately.

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I just prefer that we go for a better long term design than piecing together this and that over the years. We changed/renovated/added to the civic center for years. Ultimately it was smart to just start over. The other piece of info I left out is that the new Terminal A will cost well over 1 billion.

I just feel like that guy who didn't like the future possibilities of the civic center when it opened in the 70's. Other cities were building true convention centers. We built an El Camino and ended up having to replace it. Meanwhile Atlanta has simply added on to their World Congress Center and are way farther along with that facility. The old Charlotte Coliseum comes to mind, too. They built 12 sky boxes into it. Bad design that cost the city the entire facility ultimately.

I hear you on the desire to address the long term, but I think we're going to find that Terminal 2, either at its present capacity or its full build-out, will be enough terminal space to accommodate passenger air traffic at RDU within 15 years, 10 years, or even 5 years. Post a full Terminal 2 build-out, Terminal A may shut for good, never to be re-opened.

Despite the roller coaster of oil price changes this year, nothing has fundamentally changed on the rate at which world oil supplies are depleting. As quickly as $3.50-$4.00/gallon gas has changed habits and put airlines deep in the red, the inability of new oil exploration to replace the declining production of fields discovered in the 1960s is going to bring us back to $3.50/$4 and then up and beyond, most likely by the end of next year or summer 2010 at the latest. We've had several price retreats in the last 6 years, but the long-term trend is unmistakable. (choose the "6 Years" chart)

For the latest picture of world oil supply issues from the viewpoint of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO), visit this link.

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I see what ya'll are saying, but the two terminals actually serve different purposes. Terminal 2 is for legacy airlines that have alliance and partner airlines are want all the perks and pluses at their locations. They want the clubs, the fancy restaurants, the international capabilities, the interlining opportunity..

Terminal 1 is for those low cost carriers that, for the part, do not need all the full fledge amenities that legacies need. They do not interline, they don't have partners, they don't need clubs and don't require the high cost associated with those amenities.

I think RDU is actually brilliant for that. They are catering to all their clientelle. AirTran, jetBlue, nor Southwest want to pay high cost to an outstation. They may do it at their main bases, but not an outstation.

And Terminal 1 is not supposed to cost $1 billion (even if you are adding in the cost of Terminal 2). Terminal 1 is a $200 Million renovation. Think new carpeting, new walls, behind the wall screening, and an exterior renovation that will mirror Terminal 2. Terminal 2 will be used less than Terminal 1, but it will still be necessary and tearing it down really makes no sense at all. It is perfectly funcitonal, very sound, and provides an immediate opening that Terminal 2 won't be able to do without the D concourse extension.

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Terminal 2 will be used less than Terminal 1, but it will still be necessary and tearing it down really makes no sense at all. It is perfectly funcitonal, very sound, and provides an immediate opening that Terminal 2 won't be able to do without the D concourse extension.

I have no idea what this means.

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