The RDU Experience

Phase 2 expansion culminates a decade of defining the needs, the costs

“Once we had all that figured out we did architectural interviews and engaged Curt Fentress. We showed them the project definition report and said this is what we want and how we want it put together. We want you to design the cover that goes on it.

“That worked out very well, and it has saved us time, money, and effort throughout the process. That’s one thing I would recommend to anyone engaging in a major project. If you haven’t figured out what you want, the other guy isn’t going to figure it out for you.

“Project definition is clearly a great asset.”

The other ‘lesson learned’ was one the airport already knew, according to Brantley. That is, don’t let the air carriers dictate what happens at the local airport. “We don’t tend to ask the airlines what their opinion is of what we want to do, and then let them control the process,” says Brantley. “Our approach has always been to say, here’s what we’re going to do; here’s how we’re going to do it; here’s when; and we want you to know that. However, you are not going to be the controlling facet in that process. It’s not a negotiation.

“We’re telling you what we’re doing just like you’re telling us what flights you’re going to operate and what markets you’re going to serve.”

Brantley says that some 70 percent of RDU revenue comes from non-airline sources. “You can’t run the thing on the backs of one group of tenants,” he comments.

Over time, he adds, that approach has earned credibility from the air carriers.

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