Advisory Services Panel—Raleigh–Durham International Airport (RDU), North Carolina

rendering all parcels RDU

Date: March 16-21, 2014

Location: Wake County, North Carolina

Sponsor: Raleigh–Durham Airport Authority

Subject Area: Use of Airport Land/Economic Development

Panel Chair: John Walsh

Regional Context Photo

Download Full Report

Background and Panel Assignment

Raleigh–Durham International Airport (RDU) provides regional service to the Research Triangle Metropolitan Region of North Carolina, and is known for its three Tier One Universities, high quality of life, and the Research Triangle Park. RDU covers nearly 4,900 acres of which 1,600 are available for non-aeronautical purposes. The Airport is operated by the RDU Airport Authority, in charge of the airport facilities and its operation. The Authority is controlled by a board with representatives from the counties of Wake and Durham, as well as the cities of Raleigh and Durham.

ULI was asked by the Raleigh–Durham Airport Authority to address land owned by the Airport that is not designated or may be required for future aeronautical purposes in a manner that benefits the Research Triangle Region and to identify additional long-term revenue to the Airport Authority that complements the operation of the Airport.

The panel’s study area included the entire 4,900 acres owned by the Raleigh–Durham Airport Authority. The tract includes the land and facilities dedicated to airport operations and support, along with approximately 1,600 gross acres of land that is not related to or anticipated to be related to direct airport operations. This is in addition to an approximately 400 acre site that is located near enough to aircraft operations to be considered for an airport related, but non-operational third party use.

Summary of Recommendations

Among the panel’s recommendations were:

Airport’s Regional Role:

  • Become an airport that provides a World Class Passenger Experience
  • As “neutral ground” in the region, take a leading role in creating a regional identity, capitalizing on close collaboration with stakeholders

Economic Development:

  • Aeronautical: Develop and implement a strategic plan for development of the Airport to meet future demands for surplus terminal area land, runway passenger service facilities, and cargo
  • Non-Aeronautical: Identify and plan sites for development- including analysis of uses, engineering, development costs and appropriate marketing platform
  • Utilize surplus land to strengthen airport’s identity and functionality, while coordinating uses within the region for appropriate uses


  • Create a comprehensive sustainability plan that includes: energy efficiency, utilization and production, environmentally sensitive storm water management, landscape maintenance practices, air quality and carbon emissions
  • Protect open spaces within and around developed property


  • Increase airports connectivity to the region via car, truck, transit and air through active and deliberate participation in the community process and onsite improvements to provide connections to future public transit and highway improvements







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>