Both Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport set records for passenger traffic. Together, the Washington-area airports served nearly 45 million passengers, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
At Dulles, the 27 million passengers who used the airport in 2005 surpassed the 22.9 million of 2004, an increase of 18 percent. Of those passengers, nearly 5 million were international passengers, a 5.8 percent increase in international passengers from 2004. Dulles also set a new record with more than 509,000 flight operations, an 8.5 percent increase from the previous year.
Also at Dulles, passenger volumes jumped significantly, in part due to the presence of regional low-fare carrier Independence Air, which peaked at nearly 600 flights per day at the airport when it launched in the summer of 2004.
South African Airways introduced new service from Johannesburg, South Africa to Dulles in July. In December, United Airlines began operating nonstop flights between Dulles and several new Caribbean destinations. United also added more flights from Dulles to Aruba and St. Thomas. Dulles saw increased domestic service to several cities, including San Diego, Oakland, Chicago and Miami, along with additional international flights to cities, including Paris, Munich Sao Paulo and Seoul.
The Authority continues its $3.4 billion construction program at the airport, achieving several major milestones in 2005. The Authority completed construction of a new 325-foot air traffic control tower, designed to accommodate anticipated growth in air traffic and the future fourth and fifth runways. The Federal Aviation Administration completed its environmental impact study of the new runways. Work is expected to begin on the fourth runway later this year. The new Z Gates, located in the Main Terminal, opened this summer to serve US Airways passengers.
Other projects completed in 2005 include the reconstruction of three taxiways and the reconfiguration and paving of north roadways. The Main Terminal rehabilitation, a multi-year project to reconstruct ticketing kiosks, add an additional baggage basement and upgrade baggage delivery systems, was completed in April.
A new cell phone waiting area opened at Dulles in December to accommodate drivers waiting to pick up arriving passengers.
Work continues on the new underground airport train system, which will transport passengers between the Main Terminal and midfield concourses. When completed in 2009, the train system will replace the mobile lounges. Design of the new train cars was completed in 2005. A life-sized model of a train car was delivered to Dulles and will be put on public display later this year.