Airport Janitors Cleaning Terminal
Airport Janitors Cleaning Terminal

Another complex janitorial services transition – flawlessly executed.

Categories: Aviation, Janitorial, Library, Raleigh-Durham


Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) has played a central role in the growth of the Research Triangle Region since 1938, with business and leisure traffic reaching a peak of 14.2 million in 2019.

“We’re committed to providing a world-class customer experience.”

-Stephenie Hawco, Director of Media Relations, RDU

In 2021, RDU was ranked third by J.D. Power for customer service in their large airport category. Stephanie Hawco, Director of Media Relations for RDU said “We’re committed to providing a world-class customer experience, …everything from checking in to (getting) your ticket, to how we handle your baggage, what’s available in terms of concessions inside the terminal, our facilities themselves. Those things are really important to us.”

The Challenge

In the face of rebounding passenger counts (January 2022 counts were 112% higher than 2021), RDU began to note inconsistencies in the cleanliness of their terminals and remote facilities. The main cause appeared to be a shortage of engaged, on-site managers and supervisors, this created a lack of oversight at the airport and an inability to determine whether employees were staying on site, completing their janitorial tasks, once they’d clocked in for their shifts.

When the current janitorial contract was up for renewal in 2021, RDU put their janitorial services program out to bid and asked participants to provide facilities services solutions that would not only address the current challenges in today’s RDU – but put the airport on the path to ascend to the top spot in J.D. Power’s upcoming rankings as the airport continues its progress toward completion of its 2040 vision.

The Solution

RDU’s leadership selected Flagship Aviation Services to provide a suite of innovative facilities services in both Terminal 1 and 2, as well as in their remote buildings. Those services include janitorial, pest control, and high reach detail cleaning, all supported by Flagship’s Intuition work order system, powered by TRAX.

As the newly selected janitorial services provider, Flagship began planning the program’s implementation 90 days ahead of our first scheduled day at RDU – February 1, 2022. Our goal was a well-managed transition whose timelines and processes were communicated clearly to existing facilities services employees, RDU and the community’s stakeholders.

We created a client-specific webpage, designed to keep the incumbent provider’s employees up to date on the planned transition, and give them the opportunity to proactively express interest in working for Flagship. We value the current staff and their familiarity with the airport and its idiosyncrasies and want them to be able to easily learn about Flagship and our opportunities.

We triaged RDU’s facilities’ issues and developed a work plan that addressed the most egregious areas first – the most visible and the most impactful to the traveling public and employees.

We know from experience that restroom facilities at busy airports can be the most challenging in terms of consistency of cleanliness and excellence of customer experience. Our Clean & Inspect system supports scheduled cleaning as well as demand-based cleaning triggered by real-time traffic counts of restroom usage.

That level of flexibility is combined with the expertise of Restroom Appearance Technicians, dedicated to ensuring that everything in RDU’s restrooms is operating optimally and providing an elevated customer experience as a result.

The Outcome

Flagship was thrilled to welcome ~90% of the current janitorial staff to our new RDU team. Their eagerness to continue to serve RDU is amazing and has resulted in an all-female team of assistant managers, and supervisors.

Ahead of our first shift on February 1 – every team member showed up early to begin training on the new equipment and cleaning processes. Training on the equipment was provided by Karcher, Brain Corporation, Tenant and SC Johnson, backed by the new RDU site manager and Flagship regional managers.

We deployed our crews according to our implementation plan – and made a huge impact on the most challenging and visible areas of RDU’s terminals during the first several weeks.

Partnering with TRAX, we installed new technologies designed to automatically monitor high impact areas (like restrooms) and collect real time feedback on the condition of those areas to ensure they are always ready for the traveling public – improving the passenger experience for an airport already recognized for its customer service.

“We are excited about the opportunity to serve Raleigh-Durham International Airport – it’s in a vibrant, growing area, with many high profile educational institutions and life sciences organizations. We are committed to doing our part to make RDU the best large airport in North America – a Flagship airport!” said Dan Lent, Vice President of Operations for Flagship.

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