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Airports Authority President/CEO James A. Wilding Announces Retirement

Published: February 05, 2003


Today, at the monthly meeting of the Board of Directors, James A. Wilding announced his retirement from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which will take effect at the end of April of this year.

Said Airports Authority Chairman, Chip Glasgow, "Jim Wilding has personified excellence in both public service and business leadership, and his contributions to the state of aviation in the Metropolitan Washington Region benefit everyone who lives and visits our area. We are indebted to him for his many years of dedicated service and will be grateful for his legacy for years to come." 

Mr. Wilding's aviation career spans forty-three years - all of them at the Washington Airports.

He graduated as a Civil Engineer with a degree from the Catholic University of America and joined the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1959 to participate in the original planning and development of Washington Dulles International Airport.

Following the opening of Dulles in 1962, he held progressively responsible positions in all phases of engineering for the two federally owned airports-Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National-- eventually becoming the organization's Chief Engineer. He served as Chief Engineer until becoming the Airports' Deputy Director in 1975, and then the Director four years later.

Mr. Wilding served in that capacity as the Director of the FAA's Metropolitan Washington Airports organization from December 1979 until the June 1987 transfer of the airports to the new Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority when he assumed his current President's position.

While serving in the Federal Aviation Administration's Senior Executive Service, Mr. Wilding won several Presidential and Department of Transportation Awards including the Secretary of Transportation's Gold Medal, the highest award in the Transportation Department.

During his tenure as President/CEO of the Airports Authority, he has overseen a massive capital development program at both airports totaling well over $3 billion dollars. Under his leadership, Reagan National Airport was modernized as a result of the new terminal building which opened in 1997 which also brought major improvements to traffic management on the airport as well as improved connections to the Metro system.

At Dulles, he directed the extensive growth during the l990's that required the expansion of the world famous Saarinen-designed Terminal, construction of new concourses and the building of the airport's first parking garages.

During his tenure leading the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority passenger activity at the two airports has nearly doubled to 31 million passengers in 2002.

In addition to his involvement in the region's air service, he has earned a national and international reputation as an expert in the industry.

Mr. Wilding has served as the Chairman of the Airports Council International - North America, on the Board of Directors of the regional organization and on the Board of its worldwide parent based in Geneva, Switzerland. He has served as the President of the Aero Club of Washington and currently serves on the Policy Review Committee of the American Association of Airport Executives.

He has also been an active participant in regional affairs. Mr. Wilding has chaired the United Way Campaign of Arlington County Virginia. He is a member of the Economic Development Commission of Arlington County and has served on the Board of Directors as well as the Executive Committee of the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Eno Transportation Foundation, and currently serves on the Board of the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation, on both the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Dulles Area Transportation Association, and has served on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board.