The airport is preparing to replace the primary runway, known as 5L/23R, which is currently 10,000 feet in length.
Adding a longer runway that can provide additional takeoff distance will enable airlines to carry more passengers and cargo, said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, in a statement.
The FAA, in its decision, cited information provided by Alaska Airlines, which worked with staff members of the airport authority, the statement from the airport noted. The need for additional length in a runway allows Boeing 737-900 aircraft to carry more passengers, cargo, and fuel, which is important for flights originating at RDU and headed to the west coast.
“It will also provide greater economic opportunities for Triangle-area businesses and communities,” Landguth added.
According to the statement, business and community groups led by the Regional Transportation Alliance, the Research Triangle Foundation and the Triangle J Council of Governments all supported the replacement of the existing runway, and engaged in a letter writing campaign.
The airport noted in its statement that the existing runway, 5L/23R, is still safe for continued operations.