RDU announces new campaign to spur air travel: ‘Carry On’

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by Jason Parker

The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority unveiled a new marketing campaign at a press conference today, which is backed by a partnership known as the Triangle Take-Off Coalition, a collaboration that seeks to spur economic growth in the Triangle through increased air travel.

The campaign, Carry On, includes a video spot that the airport said would begin to air on television in the Triangle.

“They call it a different world, a new norm, and yet the soul of the Triangle carries on,” the video’s voiceover opens.  The video includes many of the Triangle’s familiar faces, including from area sports teams, Triangle businesses, and representatives from some of the sponsors of the campaign, among others.

“After all is said and done, RDU is more than an airport, it’s a way of life, a connection to business, the uniting of families, the freedom to come and go as we please,” the voiceover states.

Members of the Triangle Takeoff Coalition are:

  • Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority
  • Novo Nordisk
  • Lenovo
  • Capitol Broadcasting Company
  • Cree | Wolfspeed
  • Eckel & Vaughan
  • FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies
  • Research Triangle Foundation
  • United Therapeutics
  • Cisco ​
  • Kane Realty
  • Duke University
  • Syngenta
  • PNC
  • Smith Anderson
  • Balfour Beatty
  • Regional Transportation Alliance
  • Stewart

The airline industry took a hit during the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, with a dramatic reduction in total number of travelers using the airport.  Compared to 2019, when about 14 million passengers traveled through the airport, 5 million traveled through the airport in 2020, according Stephanie Hawco, director of media relations for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, in a March 2021 interview with WRAL TechWire as the airport launched a new digital tool to assist travelers in planning upcoming trips.

The difference between air travel from April 2019 to April 2020 was particularly dramatic, said Hawco, with a 97% reduction in travel.

But air travel has been increasing since March, which Hawco described as “inching up, slowly.”  The airport reported that nearly 300,000 people traveled in April, and that 221,0000 people traveled through security checkpoints en route to taking a flight during the Memorial Day weekend.

A survey conducted by the airport of those who had previously traveled through RDU found that 76% of respondents agreed that being vaccinated against COVID-19 would make traveling by airline safer, and 91% of respondents indicated that they have been vaccinated partially or fully or intended to be.

“While RDU and airlines have made tremendous strides in restoring passenger confidence, vaccinations will be the final piece that ignites the industry’s recovery,” said Michael Landguth, CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, said in a statement in March.  “All indications are leisure travel will pick up as the vaccine becomes more widely distributed.”

The airport announced additional flights in April, and now offers 39 nonstop routes from 11 airline carriers, with about 400 flights per day.  A nonstop route to San Francisco from United Airlines will begin in July, and JetBlue began service to San Francisco in May.  United added more than 400 flights to its July daily schedule, and noted that bookings for summer travel are up 214% from the same time period in 2020, noting it will have restored 80% of its 2019 US flying schedule by July 2021.

Original Source: WRAL TechWire