The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced Wednesday at its monthly board of directors meeting that JetBlue will move to Terminal B/C, Virgin America will operate full-time in Terminal B/C and Southwest Airlines will expand in Terminal A at Reagan National Airport as a result of increased air service from all three airlines. Airlines will begin moving to the new locations, which resulted from changes in air service as part of the American Airlines/US Airways merger, this summer. Although the airlines increasing service have not fully announced their flight schedules, some new flights will start as early as June 19.
“In order to maintain smooth passenger flows and minimize bottlenecks, we have had to shift some airline locations at Reagan National to accommodate the new air service from JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America,” said Airports Authority Chief Operating Officer Margaret McKeough. “Reagan National’s facilities are already near capacity as a result of record passenger levels in 2013. The planned location changes will allow the airport to handle as many as 2 million additional passengers per year predicted from this new service.”
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.” JetBlue permanently acquired 20 round-trip flights, Southwest obtained 27 round-trips, while Virgin America added four round-trips from the combined American Airlines and US Airways divestiture for slots at Reagan National, as required by the Department of Justice. As a result of the new service, Southwest will become the third-largest carrier at the airport, handling 11 percent of daily departures, behind the new American (56 percent) and Delta (12 percent). JetBlue will grow to 7 percent of daily departures, up from 3 percent, and Virgin America will handle 1 percent of daily departures.
Additionally, air traffic statistics for January 2014 showed the Airports Authority served 3 million passengers for the month. The number represents a dip in air travel for the month at both Reagan National and Dulles International, compared to the previous year, and reflects the impact of repeated snow and ice events, which caused significant flight delays and cancellations both locally and throughout the country. However, even with the multiple winter storms, Washington Dulles International continued to increase its international passenger traffic, growing by 3.2 percent compared with last year. The full air travel statistics for January can be found here.
Also at the Airports Authority’s board of directors meeting, President and CEO Jack Potter acknowledged progress toward the completion of Phase 1 of the Authority’s project to build the Silver Line extension to the Washington region’s Metrorail mass transit system. The Airport’s Authority is working collaboratively with its construction contractor, Dulles Transit Partners, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authorityto resolve issues identified last month in order to reach substantial completion. Once substantial completion is achieved, WMATA will determine the project’s operational readiness date, at which point it will begin up to 90 days of additional testing and preparation before setting a date for the initiation of passenger service.
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 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.