Despite variant concerns, RDU expects 37,000 passengers on Thursday ahead of Christmas

Wake County News

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Close to 37,000 passengers are expected to pass through TSA at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Thursday. Airport leaders said holiday air travel is up compared to 2020.

Nearly 500,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport by Jan. 2. Everybody is trying to get to their destination just in time for Christmas, and to do so safely.

Some passengers are concerned about the omicron variant. Many of them have not traveled home for the holidays for the past two years due to the pandemic.

“It’s going to be what it’s going to be. Everybody is taking precautions,” passenger Bill Bate said.

RDU is urging passengers to reserve parking spaces 24 hours ahead of time. With the holiday travel rush, parking is quickly filling up. The airport is even telling people who are picking up passengers to use the free cell phone lot to wait on passengers, to limit the congestion. Drivers can also pick up passengers at the departure and arrival ramps.

Airport leaders are gearing up for the heavy traffic.

“We are having to increase law enforcement just to make sure the traffic congestion is taken care of,” said Kiara Jones, RDU Director of Strategic Communications.

Passengers are urged to get to the airport two hours ahead of their flight if they are traveling domestically and four hours if they are traveling internationally.

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