Interest-payment savings and effective management of operating expenses are expected to reduce costs for airlines at Reagan National and Dulles International airports in 2014, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority officials announced Wednesday.
The savings are reflected in the 2014 budget adopted Wednesday by the Airports Authority’s board of directors. The Airports Authority operates the two airports, as well as the Dulles Toll Road and the construction of the Silver Line extension of the Metrorail regional transit system.
The budget includes a reduction in aviation debt service costs by 2.9 percent in 2014 – achieved through successful debt refinancing in 2013 – combined with other reductions in operating expenses of approximately 2.9 percent.
Significant facility enhancements budgeted for 2014 at Reagan National include airfield runway and taxiway improvements. At Dulles, additional gate capacity for Airbus A380 flights will be completed, along with improvements to the public parking payment system.
The 2014 budget for the Dulles Toll Road includes a toll increase scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. The toll for cars at the main plaza will increase from $1.75 to $2.50, while tolls at the ramps will remain at $1.00. The revenue will help fund roadway operation and maintenance and construction of the Silver Line Metrorail project.
The December meeting of the Airports Authority board of directors marked the final meeting as chairman for Michael Curto, who served in that capacity beginning in January 2012. During the meeting, Curto expressed optimism about the direction in which the Authority is heading.
“Looking forward, I am tremendously excited about the future of transportation in this region,” Curto said. “With Dulles and Reagan National, we have two of the most modern, attractive and well-managed airports in the world. And I’m confident the rail system will be as transformational as the most optimistic analysts have projected. It will boost the area's economy in ways we can only imagine.”
The board also recognized two members of the Authority executive team who will be departing at the end of the year. Elmer Tippett, vice president for public safety, and Frank Holly, vice president for engineering, are retiring in January, each following more than 20 years of service to the Authority. The board adopted resolutions recognizing their contribution to improving the Authority and to enhancing the travel experience of people throughout the metropolitan Washington, D.C., region.
The board of directors also heard a report on the airports responses to the recent winter weather, which included snow removal activities, runway treatments and passenger assistance during the difficult travel period.
The October air traffic statistics for Reagan and Dulles also were presented at the December meeting. A detailed breakdown of the October Air Traffic Statistics can be found here.
Combined, both airports served 3.6 million passengers in October, up 1.9 percent from the previous year. Reagan National was up 0.9 percent over the previous year. Dulles showed the strongest growth serving 1.9 million passengers, a 2.9 percent increase over the previous year. Dulles’ growth was driven by a 1.3 percent increase in domestic passengers and a 6.5 percent increase in international, marking the 12th straight month of international passenger growth at the airport.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, established in 1987 by the governments of Virginia and the District of Columbia, manages and operates Washington’s Ronald Reagan National and Dulles International airports, which together serve more than 40 million passengers a year. The Airports Authority also operates and maintains the Dulles Airport Access Road and the Dulles Toll Road and manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail system into Loudoun County, Va. No tax dollars are used to operate the toll road, which is funded by toll revenues, or the airports, which are funded through aircraft landing fees, rents and revenues from concessions. The Silver Line construction is funded by a combination of toll-road revenues, airport contributions and federal, state and local government appropriations. The Airports Authority is led by a 17-member board of directors appointed by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and the president of the United States.