D.C. region welcomes Alitalia air service from Rome

The inaugural Alitalia flight from Rome to Washington Dulles International Airport receives a ceremonial water-cannon welcome on May 2, 2019. (Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.)

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport saw a passenger count slightly more than one-fifth of normal in October, while Washington Dulles International Airport saw just one-third its normal passenger count during the month, according to new data from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

A total of 451,087 passengers traveled through Reagan National for the month, down 78.9 percent from the 2,137,029 recorded in October 2019. At Washington Dulles, the total of 687,376 was down 68.3 percent from 2,171,537 a year before.

(Totals include passengers arriving and departing from the airports.)

At Reagan National, dominant carrier American Airlines – which carries more than half the passenger total – posted a decline of 78 percent from a year before. At Washington Dulles, United Airlines (which ordinarily carries about 65 percent of total passenger traffic but in October was responsible for a whopping 78 percent) reported a decline of 58 percent of domestic travel and 83 percent of international service.

For the month, international service at Dulles, which normally accounts for one-third of flights, was off 84.8 percent, with Lufthansa and Air France down more than 90 percent and British Airways and Korean Air close to that figure. Air China service remained suspended for the month.

For the 12-month period ended Oct. 31, total passenger counts were down 55.1 percent at National and 55.3 percent at Dulles.

The crash in air traffic began in mid- March (monthly passenger totals at the two airports were only about half that of March 2019 figures) and hit rock bottom in April, when just 35,000 passengers enplaned at Reagan National and 48,000 Washington Dulles – between 4 and 5 percent of normal for that month.

At Dulles, passenger counts have climbed every month since April, although coming months are expected to bring sluggishness. At Reagan National, July’s passenger count has not been exceeded since, although both August and October were close.

Officials with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority are projecting that pre-COVID passenger counts at the two airports will not return until 2024.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, operated by the Maryland state government, has not yet reported its October traffic data. In September, the airport saw a decline of 60.3 percent to 848,579; for the 12 months preceding September, the passenger total was down 42.1 percent.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

(1) comment

Wake Up & Smell The Coffee!

Airlines aren’t doing their part to receive the business they want! All of the science in the world cannot negate the memory of sardine style airplane seating! Instinctually, most will refrain from placing themselves in the tightest space known to man.

As a gesture of goodwill, the airlines should return to earlier seating configurations. As putting ones seat back should not be something that’s there just for looks!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.