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RDU International Airport


Rufus

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RDU does have room for another runway, if not more. RDU has a lot of land. Granted a good chunk of it to the east is not developable due to Umstead Park, but to the west they do not have the same kind of restrictions.

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They could easily lay down another runway next to one of the current runways in the highlighted image below:

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They own that land, Umstead is not in that vacinity, state road 1002 (old Aviation Parkway) was bypassed a long time ago so does not serve a use really anymore to anyone outside of being a service road and being a dead end spur off Lumley Road.

Edited by orulz
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Actually, I believe you may have that a bit incorrect. The location of the third runway shown in DPK post is the location proposed by the FAA that would absolutely allow simultaneous take-offs and landings. you will also have to know that because RDU has 2 runways configured where they are, they is more than enough room for whatever comes. The biggest continguent on a third runway would be a hub operation at RDU, which is not in the future. Should the runway be needed, I don't think it would tak a lot of work to get it going.. just a lot of money. And I don't think it would hinder growth at RDU. And the location of the 3rd runway at RDU would be directly over the old Airport Road, which is very much sufficient for multiple take-offs.

Edited by orulz
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This topic has been trimmed to remove all GSO vs RDU discussions. I have left some discussions about runway capacity and the 3rd runway plan at RDU.

As for parallel runways - I am not not familiar with the technical terms, but it seems there are different modes of operations depending on the degree of separation.

1. With a separation on the order of a couple of miles, runways can operate completely independently. In practice this generally means different airports.

2. With separation of perhaps 2500 feet, you can operate runways independently (without sychronization between them) but with visual separation. This is the category that RDU's 2 runways fall into.

3. With less space between runways, you can still operate simultaneously, but things have to be synchronized in some way.

As an example of #3, LAX (the 6th busiest airport in the world) has 4 runways, but they're arranged as 2 pairs of runways. The pairs are far enough apart from each other to operate independently, but each runway within each pair is closely spaced. So while runways that are far enough apart to operate independently are nice, a parallel runway that is too close to operate independently still adds a great deal of capacity, with LAX as the prime example.

So if RDU can add a 3rd parallel runway (and perhaps a 4th) even if they're too close to operate independently, that will still give a big boost in capacity. I have a hard time imagining a future where RDU will need to handle more flights than LAX.

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Actually, I believe you may have that a bit incorrect. The location of the third runway shown in DPK post is the location proposed by the FAA that would absolutely allow simultaneous take-offs and landings. you will also have to know that because RDU has 2 runways configured where they are, they is more than enough room for whatever comes. The biggest continguent on a third runway would be a hub operation at RDU, which is not in the future. Should the runway be needed, I don't think it would tak a lot of work to get it going.. just a lot of money. And I don't think it would hinder growth at RDU. And the location of the 3rd runway at RDU would be directly over the old Airport Road, which is very much sufficient for multiple take-offs.

It doesn't. A jet can not take off simultaneously at those 2 runways next to one another that close. Just take a look at other airports. Runways cannot be side by side like that and handle simultaneous take off and landings.

But, the main point is as of the completion of the new runway at GSO they are up and ready for expansion. They have 3 jet runways. RDU has only 2. RDU should not allow themselves to get set back like this. They should be proactive and always be ahead of the game and not wait until they need it and the cost is even more.

Edited by Atlside
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It doesn't. A jet can not take off simultaneously at those 2 runways next to one another that close. Just take a look at other airports. Runways cannot be side by side like that and handle simultaneous take off and landings.

But, the main point is as of the completion of the new runway at GSO they are up and ready for expansion. They have 3 jet runways. RDU has only 2. RDU should not allow themselves to get set back like this. They should be proactive and always be ahead of the game and not wait until they need it and the cost is even more.

RDU is not getting set back. GSO is overinvesting and doubling down on a bad idea. The price of oil is going to be back up around $80-$90 within another 2-3 years, and GSO will suddenly find its petroleum-powered logistics/air/highway economic development strategy to be an albatross around its neck.

Forget a 2nd runway at RDU. RDU has all the runways it will need for the remainder of its life as a passenger airport. The money would be better spent on expanding and improving rail connections from Raleigh to the coast or Asheville.

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It doesn't. A jet can not take off simultaneously at those 2 runways next to one another that close. Just take a look at other airports. Runways cannot be side by side like that and handle simultaneous take off and landings.

I wish you would actually read other peoples' posts. First, quit trolling and drop the GSO vs RDU crap. Second, look at LAX. What is LAX? The 6th busiest airport IN THE WORLD. What is its runway configuration? 4 runways, two pairs of runways that are very close together. 24 / 6 R/L and 25/7 R/L.

Closely spaced runways absolutely can support multiple operations at once. You just have to synchronize things between them. Obviously, that's not a big issue, or else LAX wouldn't be able to handle as many flights as it does.

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RDU is not getting set back. GSO is overinvesting and doubling down on a bad idea. The price of oil is going to be back up around $80-$90 within another 2-3 years, and GSO will suddenly find its petroleum-powered logistics/air/highway economic development strategy to be an albatross around its neck.

Forget a 2nd runway at RDU. RDU has all the runways it will need for the remainder of its life as a passenger airport. The money would be better spent on expanding and improving rail connections from Raleigh to the coast or Asheville.

You really think that the number of people interested in traveling by train to Asheville or the coast far outweighs the Triangle's future demand to go to any place beyond 300 miles? How are these people going "to the coast" going to get around when they get there?

If you are so convinced that oil is going to be back up to that rate, why aren't you putting your money where your mouth is by buying stocks and futures?

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You really think that the number of people interested in traveling by train to Asheville or the coast far outweighs the Triangle's future demand to go to any place beyond 300 miles? How are these people going "to the coast" going to get around when they get there?

If you are so convinced that oil is going to be back up to that rate, why aren't you putting your money where your mouth is by buying stocks and futures?

Let's not start a post war here. He (transitman) does have a point (we're all entitled to them) that oil prices are going to go back up, it's just a matter of time. Whether it's 2 years or 12, eventually supply will not keep up with demand and we'll be paying more again. That's how the economy works, supply and demand. More people will begin to seek alternative methods of transportation, yadda yadda.

I think if price and speed of train travel matched/exceeded air travel you would definitely see a decline in air travel. Whether you travel by train/plane, traveling when you get to a destination will always matter. Don't think narrowly however. You are leaving out emerging technologies such as bio-fuels, hybrids, fuel cells, etc. Yes they aren't available readily in most cases publicly now, but things are getting more efficient and interesting every year.

If worse comes to absolute worse, you'll see people moving closer in again and abandoning suburbia. That being the absolute worst case where it is so cost counter-productive to live outside the core from public transportation that only those who can absurdly afford it, do it.

People will find a way to do things, we've done it for centuries. Some of the best discoveries have been accidental so who knows. Never rule anything out, ever.

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I think transitman's overall point is that it's probably best not to place your economic eggs in the cheap oil basket, and it appears that GSO may be doing that. We certainly saw the potential for reduced passenger air travel last year, and air cargo is no different. If oil is back at $140, where does that leave the air travel market long term? All of these grand expansion ideas may not be needed, as we have begun to see with the abandonment of portions of Terminal 1. I suppose it's good to have plans in your back pocket, but if demand for terminal space is contracting & we are no where close to reaching capacity now, what evidence is there that RDU will ever need a 3rd main runway?

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I am no expert on air travel or airport site plans, but when considering building or expanding anything you have to find that sweet spot between not over taxing your existing facilities and not building something that will be horribly underutilized (Global Transpark comes to mind). Building a new runway to lure business has proven to be a costly idea. In the world of water planning, when facilities are at 80% capacity you have to by law, have an expansion plan in place, and when they are at 90%, you have to have applied for a permit to expand to a capacity based on 20 year needs. I would think a similar approach might apply at an airport though I don't know for sure what a good planning horizon would be, and maybe they don't want to push the capacity that far...

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DPK, I'm not starting a "post war", however I am not going to sit here and pretend that the idea of moving away from aviation any time on the next 100 years is even remotely a reality. You all can threaten/fantasize about all the expensive oil scenarios you want, but your cause/effect model is completely impossible. (if oil skyrockets as mentioned, the world economy will be crippled to levels that make today's problems a grain of sand. In the expensive oil scenario there will be no money for ANYTHING - trains included)

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You really think that the number of people interested in traveling by train to Asheville or the coast far outweighs the Triangle's future demand to go to any place beyond 300 miles? How are these people going "to the coast" going to get around when they get there?

If you are so convinced that oil is going to be back up to that rate, why aren't you putting your money where your mouth is by buying stocks and futures?

The 2 runways at RDU are more than enough to handle current demand for long-haul passenger air service, and Terminal 2, when complete, will probably be all that is needed for ground facilities. Suggesting that a third runway is overkill is not in conflict with this.

And yes, in the long run I think that the demand for in-state travel by ground transport is far bigger than that for air from RDU beyond 300 miles. I believe that future oil prices will make these journeys by train very attractive on a cost basis for business and leisure travel.

Finally, 35% of all my holdings are in energy-related ETFs, and I'm doing fine, thanks for asking. Let's revisit this post in 2010 - 2011 and see what is the highest price for a gallon of gas is 2-3 quarters into an economic recovery.

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I think that as world population increases and China, India, and the rest of the third world become wealthier, competition for resources will increase. Long term, the cost of oil will go up, and IMO it is likely to outpace inflation. Resource-intensive activities such as flying will trend towards being more of a luxury.

In 50 years, provided we build the infrastructure, train travel (which does not depend on oil) will be a competitive and less expensive option for many trips that you would make by plane in 2009, like Atlanta or New York.

That said, I think the notion that RDU will cease to be a passenger airport is extremely far-fetched. The travel market to places like Boston, Chicago, or overseas will never disappear, and alternatives to flying lose competitiveness for distances over 500 miles, and I don't expect that to change in 50 years. I think that there is enough of a benefit to flying directly out of RDU for the airport to stay, given that the next, nearest alternatives would still be hours away, even by high speed train. Loss of market share for short-haul travel and the (IMO) inevitable rise in the cost of travel will take a chunk out of RDU's traffic, but that will be offset to some degree by the area's continuing growth.

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I think the whole "oil will go up and flying will become too expensive" is a really overblown and frankly, silly argument. Its as if to say that flight technology will completely stop with oil and never move beyond that. We have hybrid cars, electric cars on the way and hydrogen cars on the drawing board, so who is to say that these technologies will not be adapted to flight? I highly doubt oil is end-game. Slightly off-topic, but the same applies be driving less and desiring to live closer to things. If people have cars that can go for long distances on one tank of whatever or battery and/or fuel (hydrogen, for example is cheap and easy to produce and is estimated at today's prices to only cost pennies a gallon), what incentive do they have to live close? The American mentality since the automobile is to live the suburbs and drive to everything and I really don't see that changing soon. On that note, since oil declined, the percentage of fuel efficient vehicles has once again shrank and SUVs and pickups are on the rise again. I was watching a show the other day where an economist stated that the average length of consumer's "economic memory" is 3 months.

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Yikes!

BTW, count me in on that Popeye's head-scratcher.

Same. I get my Popeye's cravings sometimes but am always let down by the only opportunity to get some around here is by a long drive to the airport. At which point I just assume go to Bojangles, mmmm.

Ok now I'm hungry, lol.

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A bit off topic but I've always wondered why the only Popeyes Chicken in the area is in the airport terminal...if you are not flying out of RDU the only location relatively close to us is a truck stop in Whitsett (in between Burlington and Greensboro on 40/85)

I'm with you on that one. I'd much rather have Popeye's than Bojangles, and hopefully they will open new locations in the Triangle sometime in the near future.

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At this point in time RDU does not need a 3rd parallel runway. The investment in Terminal 2 will be much more of a benefit.

Maybe I can help clear up some of the confusion about this 3rd parallel runway at RDU. It is not designed to operate simultaneous landings or takeoffs with today's rwy 23R/5L. IF the 3rd parallel runway was constructed it would be 23R/5L and the CURRENT 23R/5L rwy would be renamed 23C/5C (for center). With the 3rd parallel runway aircraft would not use all three runways for landings and takeoffs. 23L/5R would continue to see both landings and takeoffs, while 23C/5C and 23R/5L would share landings and takeoffs. One runway (for example) 23C/5C would be used for all takeoff operations while 23R/5L would be used for all landing operations. This concept is effective and would be more than enough to handle RDU's future increase in operations, and is what was proposed when Midway Airlines was at peak operations during its RDU hub years.

So to review a 3rd parallel runways still only means two runways would see simultaneous landing/takeoff, one being 23L/5R due to the spacing issue which is legit. A 23R/5L and 23C/5C concept would allow one runway to concentrate on takeoffs while the other on landings. This divide and conqurer concept does make a huge difference and is what the 3rd runway would accomplish for RDU.

3 runways for simultaneous landins/takeoffs:NO

3 parallel runways a benefit for RDU @ some point in future (based on demand): YES

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Also someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that the new runway at GSO was part of the deal for Fedex to locate its hub there. That runway would not be constructed if it hadn't been for Fedex moving its mid-Atlantic hub operations there.

Overall: we should be happy for both airports. RDU does draw decent passenger numbers and they will increase in the future as the aviation market lets it and GSO has finally caught a break by landing the Fedex hub. GSO's proximity to RDU and especially CLT has kept it from really building a passenger market. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen in the future. I say the best of luck to them all. I'm always glad to see any NC airport grow.

Hope this helped clear up some of the runway issues :thumbsup:

Edited by RDUairport
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Gard's post above indicates an optimism about technology that disregards some key laws of physics, most importantly energy density. Oil is truly an absolutely amazing resource. One barrel of oil holds over 400 years of solar energy condensed into a compact, easy to use and manage form. Our greatest technologies are nowhere close to replicating this. The Chevy Volt will probably be the longest-ranging electric vehicle in the world that is ready for mass consumption when it rolls out next year. It will be able to go about 40 miles on a full charge using a battery pack that costs several thousand dollars. I can presently buy that amount of mobility for my car in gasoline form for approximately $20-$22. If the price of gasoline quadruples, I will still be able to buy that same gas for $80-$88. The price to get 40 miles using electric power is extremely high.

You just can't replicate this in an airplane. Ignore for a moment the problem of how you would generate thrust from electricity- you have much bigger weights (planes, not cars) , much longer distances (100s of miles without refueling/recharging), overcoming gravity, being lifted into the sky, not merely being pushed forward down the road.

If we get to a point where we have $200/bbl oil and a mid-haul distance transportation system based on air travel rather than ground travel, we will lose a lot of mobility by having people priced out of 250 - 600 mile trips. If we have decent rail services in place, they can be electrified and run on a variety of domestic power sources, including renewables.

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^

And still yet people said flight was impossible. There are countless examples out there of things that were thought not possible and are alive & well in today's world. My point being, it may not be possible with TODAY'S knowledge, but that may not be the case with TOMORROW'S knowledge. No door is closed to an open mind.

That being said, I believe and will continue to believe that oil will be replaced.

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I think the whole "oil will go up and flying will become too expensive" is a really overblown and frankly, silly argument. Its as if to say that flight technology will completely stop with oil and never move beyond that.

I don't think anyone has argued flying will cease and the airport will shut down. It's more likely the travel market for short air trips (~150-600 miles) may falter with increasing oil prices, and the thus the argument for the need for a 3rd runway at this point is dubious at best... which was the entire reason for the last few pages of this topic. I think growth in the Triangle will help stabilize flight traffic and stimulate RDU as a travel market (Paris/CDG & perhaps LAX, for example) but in the long term, we will likely not see a need for a 3rd runway and another major airfield expansion.

Rather than foolishly place all our eggs in the air travel basket, it would be wise for the US to focus on developing alternatives for the 150-600 mile travel market, as President Obama is proposing with the HSR plan.

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