2014 was another record year for passenger traffic at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and international growth at Washington Dulles International Airport, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors heard at its monthly meeting on Wednesday.
Reagan National registered its fifth consecutive year of growth, serving 20.8 million passengers. The new record passenger totals at the airport were reached as federal regulatory changes in recent years have allowed new airlines, flying larger aircraft, to operate at the airport. Reagan National is one of the few U.S. airports where the number of takeoffs and landings are controlled by federal permits known as “slots.”
2015 is shaping up to be another record year at Reagan National. American Airlines was required to divest slots at the start of 2014 as part of its merger with US Airways, and the carriers that took over those divested slots began service in the final months of 2014.
At Dulles International, 2014 marked the 11th consecutive year of international growth. The airport served 7.1 million international passengers, a 1.6 percent increase over the previous year. International service is expected to again increase in 2015, as Aer Lingus begins non-stop service to Dublin on May 2.
Dulles International’s total service, 21.6 million passengers, was down by 1.7 percent over 2013. This is in large part the result of shifting domestic service from Dulles International to Reagan National. This shift has upset the balance between the two airports, creating congestion at Reagan National and putting additional cost pressure on Dulles International. Restoring the balance in the two-airport system tops the Airports Authority’s corporate goals, also presented to the board on Wednesday.
In particular, the Airports Authority will work to reduce the cost to airlines operating at Dulles International by working to streamline business operations, refinance long-term debt and increase non-aviation revenue. The Airports Authority also will continue working to increase air service, particularly domestic flights, at Dulles International. In addition to the launch of Aer Lingus on May 2, Alaska Airlines will begin non-stop service to Seattle on March 11.
Lastly, there will be a continued focus on customer service at both airports. Recent improvements – such as Dulles Passport Express automated kiosks, which help to speed the international arrivals process, and Silver Line Express bus service, directly connecting Dulles International with the new Silver Line Metrotrail – have made getting to and through the airport easier. Additionally, the opening of new, enhanced shopping and dining options at Dulles International and Reagan National are further improving the customer experience.
The full travel statistics for Reagan National and Dulles International can be found here.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, established in 1987 by the governments of Virginia and the District of Columbia, manages and operates Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington 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 Airports Authority generates more than 387,000 jobs in the National Capital Region.