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German airline Lufthansa lands at RDU Airport

Lufthansa aircrafts are parked at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, Sept.2, 2022. German news agency dpa says Lufthansa’s operations have been disrupted at Frankfurt airport because of technical problems, the dpa news agency reported Sunday, March 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)
Michael Probst
Lufthansa aircrafts are parked at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022.

Direct flights from Raleigh-Durham International Airport to Frankfurt begin Thursday.

Germany is one of several new international destinations available to RDU passengers.

Lufthansa flight 408 took off at 10:27 a.m. Central European Time on Thursday. It's scheduled to land at RDU Terminal 2 at around 1:40 p.m., according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

RDU officials and Lufthansa executives announced the new route last September. Airport CEO Michael Landguth stressed the new connection isn’t just for people flying to Germany.

“It provides us connectivity into Africa into the Middle East and into India,” he said. Frankfurt is Germany’s busiest airport, handing more than 65 million passengers per year.

Lufthansa's new service will operate five times per week on Airbus A330 aircraft. RDU had been working for years to get the flight, though that effort was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Landguth said. A coalition of 11 universities and businesses, including UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, Elon, BASF and Wolfspeed, agreed to offer financial support.

RDU also extended its own incentives, such as waivers on airport landing fees, which are part of a program to lure new destinations and carriers. The airport used a similar approach to attract Icelandair, which began flying from Raleigh-Durham in 2022.

Two other international routes will begin in the coming weeks — Copa Airlines with non-stop flights to Panama City, Panama and Aeromexico service to Mexico City.

Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.
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