The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority (RDAA) last week announced two air service incentive programs designed to encourage carriers to return the routes at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) to pre-pandemic levels.

Prior to the pandemic, RDU had 57 nonstop flights, including five international destinations. Today the airport has 39 nonstops and no international flights.

RDU’s first incentive program is designed to attract new airlines and new service on previously unserved routes. The second focuses on recovery and is designed to incentivize a return to service of RDU’s previously served year-round international markets.

Both programs offer a 12-month waiver of airport landing fees for qualifying service, with a cap of $1,000,000 per fiscal year for the standard program and a $700,000 per fiscal year cap for the recovery program.

“We anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a considerably smaller airline industry with fierce competition among airports,” said Michael Landguth, president and CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “Our new recruitment strategy positions RDU at the front of the line when airlines resume service on routes they dropped during the health crisis.”

The incentive program will be implemented Nov. 1. JetBlue will begin daily nonstop service to Cancun International (CUN) and Montego Bay Sangster International (MBJ) airports on Nov. 19, the first international routes at RDU since mid-March.