Northwest Airlines will move this month into shared space with its corporate partner Delta Air Lines in the new Terminal 2 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, leaving vacant gates and an opportunity for strategic shrinkage in the old Terminal 1.
That will mean shorter walks on the concourse for Continental passengers.
RDU plans to shut down the Terminal 1 south concourse, where Northwest and Continental Airlines now use Gates A5-A9.
Northwest flights will continue operating out of Terminal 1 until the evening of March 23, when the last arriving flights will shift to Terminal 2. Starting March 24, all Northwest traffic will use the shared Delta / Northwest gates in Terminal 2.
In late April, Continental will shift operations to the center of Terminal 1 in Gates A17-A19, which have been empty since Delta moved to Terminal 2 in November.
“Northwest is going to move over to Terminal 2 because of its merger with Delta,” said Mindy Hamlin, RDU spokeswoman. “Continental would be the only one remaining on the south end of the concourse, so they are going to move into some of Delta’s old gates.”
Continental travelers should find the new gate location much more convenient, Hamlin said. They now face a long hike from the security checkpoint to board their flights at the southern end of the terminal.
RDU will close off the south concourse of Terminal 1 after Continental moves out. The action will reduce the airport’s operating costs while leaving the space available for future expansion.
The first phase of Terminal 2 opened for business in October, and construction is under way on the remaining portion. RDU plans to move U.S. Airways and Continental from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 when the completed structure opens in early 2011.