Alexandria, VA— The year just ending brought considerable improvements and new developments to the airports operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority -- Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National.
"It’s been a significant year for the Washington airports," said James A. Wilding, President/CEO of the Airports Authority, "one that has brought new services, new facilities, and investments in our community."
The Airports Authority notes the following top ten highlights of the past year (in no particular order):
! Opening of the new Concourse B at Dulles Airport which is the first step in replacing older airline waiting areas with more attractive facilities and improved customer amenities in food and retail.
! Opening of the new Continental Airline gates in Terminal B at National Airport. These four gates opened in August completing the move of all except three airlines into the new terminal.
! Addition of nearly 4,500 new parking spaces at Dulles Airport to meet the continuing increase in passengers and new airline services.
! Restoration of the historic Abingdon Plantation site on the hill overlooking the National Airport Terminals A and B/C, completed in coordination with state and national historic preservation organizations and citizen groups. This historic site, once the home of George Washington’s adopted stepson, is now accessible and provides self-guided tours.
! The start of Metrojet service at Dulles Airport, bringing more low fare options to area travelers. There are now three low fare carriers serving multiple destinations from Dulles.
! An impressive 25 per cent increase in Metrorail ridership at the National Airport station as a result of the greatly-improved accessibility of the new terminal B/C to Metro via enclosed pedestrian bridges.
! The signing of a 40-year lease with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum that will enable the construction of a new Air and Space Dulles Center which will display famous aircraft and offer the public an opportunity to learn about aviation and the restoration of aircraft.
! The selection by the Washington Business Journal of the new Terminal B/C at National Airport for the award as the overall "Best Real Estate Deal of 1997" as well as the "Best Architecture" award. Other contenders for these awards included the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, the MCI Center and the Jack Kent Cook Stadium.
! Ground breaking for a new Regional Concourse at Dulles Airport that will open in 1999 and provide new facilities for up to 36 regional aircraft operated by Atlantic Coast/United Express Airlines.
! The opening of an Exhibit Hall at National Airport which offers travelers and visitors an historical overview of the Abingdon Plantation site on which the airport was built as well as the history of aviation in the Nation’s Capital.