Reagan National Primed to Set Another Record

Despite the ups and downs of the airline industry (Northwest Airlines, shown above, merged into Delta several years ago), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport has piled up six consecutive years of record passenger totals. (File photo by Dan Rosenstein)

It took Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport just the first 11 months of 2015 to equal its record-setting passenger count of a year before. At the same time, Washington Dulles International Airport appeared to have a shot at besting its 2015 passenger count, although the final verdict won’t be known until mid-February.

The 1.94 million travelers who came and went through Reagan National in November represented an increase of 14.1 percent from the same period a year before, and brought the 11-month passenger total to 20.8 million – an 11.6-percent increase from the same period in 2014 and roughly equal to the total for all of that year.

As a result, 2015 will mark the sixth consecutive year of record passenger totals at Reagan National.

At Washington Dulles, the passenger count of 1.65 million in November was up 1.6 percent from a year before, fueled by a 3.6-percent increase in domestic-passenger activity as dominant carrier United ramped up flights and posted a 10-percent boost from a year before.

November and year-to-date figures were reported Jan. 19 by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates both airports.

United and its regional-carrier affiliates are responsible for nearly two-thirds of all passenger traffic at Dulles, so its growth must be good news to the ears of the airports authority.

For the first 11 months of the year, Washington Dulles welcomed 19.9 million passengers, a 0.5-percent increase from the same period in 2014 and within striking distance of the year-end 2014 total of 21.6 million.

(Dulles peaked in total passengers in 2005, when the now-defunct Independence Air made a run at United’s dominance. Just over 27 million passengers used the airport that year.)

Counting both airports, the passenger total of 3.6 million passengers for November was up 8 percent from a year before, slightly below the national increase of 8.9 percent reported by Airlines for America, a trade group.

At Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, operated by the Maryland state government, November’s passenger count of 2.02 million was up 14.8 percent from a year before.

Southwest Airlines is the dominant carrier at BWI, accounting for just over 70 percent of all passenger traffic.

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