Eight billion dollars a year. That's the kind of money coming into the Triangle, just from the flights going in and out of RDU International Airport. Now the airport wants to know what their next non-stop domestic and international destinations should be.
Ever since RDU started non-stop service to London Heathrow through American Airlines, on average 100,000 people a year took advantage of that route. A non-stop international flight such as London can generate more than $50 million for the Triangle. That's why airport officials are eagerly campaigning to find the next London.
Joe Milazzo II is the Executive Director of Regional Transportation Alliance and said, "We have companies that would not be here most likely if not for this airport." Milazzo said RDU is critical to the survival and growth of the Triangle's economy and that the next step is naturally, expansion.
Tony Maupin is the President of Maupin Travel and said his company has directly felt the economic impact from RDU's non-stop flight to London.
"It would be huge not only for our leisure clients if we have direct access to Europe, if it is a Paris, or if it is a Frankfurt," he said.
Thanks to that non-stop flight to London his company has seen a 10 to 15 percent increase in profit and wants to see more of these flights.
Mindy Hamlin, a spokesperson for RDU said, "Nearly one million people travel between RDU and international destinations. So we know that we are a prime candidate for additional service."
Hamlin has been with RDU for more than a decade, and said the airport already has gotten a lot of interest from the business community. "Right now it looks as though we are targeting European destinations such as Paris or Frankfurt," she said.
It's not just international flights they're vying for. In a few weeks, airport officials say Delta is getting ready for non-stop service to Salt Lake City and that could generate anywhere between $20 to $30 million for the Triangle.
To give your input for future domestic and international destinations, you can tweet to RDU International. Their twitter handle is: @RDUAIRPORT