Southwest Coming to Reagan National

Whiles its local service is concentrated at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Southwest Airlines has become more of a presence at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. (Photo by Stephen M. Keller/Southwest Airlines)

Northern Virginia’s two main airports saw passenger growth of 1.6 percent to 47.5 million in 2018, according to new figures, with a rebound at Washington Dulles International Airport offsetting losses at Ronald Reagan Washington national Airport.

Dulles slightly outperformed Reagan National for the year, as the Arlington airport was unable to continue its recent string of year-over-year passenger records.

Dulles saw an passenger-count increase of 5.1 percent for the year, with higher totals in both the domestic and international sectors. The airport’s dominant carrier, United, posted a 9.4-percent increase in domestic travelers and 2.6-percent growth on the international said, and ended the year with a 66-percent market share.

While solid, the passenger count at Dulles remains well below the all-time record of around 27 million, set more than a decade ago during a brief battle that saw United fending off a challenge by the upstart (and now defunct) Independence Air.

At Reagan National, there 1.8 percent decline in annual passenger totals for the year, but 2018 still represented the third-highest total in the airport’s 77-year history. Passenger totals declined, in part, due to lower passenger activity at American Airlines, which represents about half of all travel at the airport.

For December, Washington Dulles showed a year-over-year passenger increase of 4.7 percent to 1.9 million while Reagan National posted a decline of 1.7 percent to 1.8 million. Combined, the total passenger count of 3.7 million was up 1.8 percent from December 2018.

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