(apologies for reusing this cake from the LHR LXX birthday on June1, 2016 article)
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Don’t tell anyone, but she’s actually older than 75, though the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority declared that Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s celebrates its 75th anniversary on June 16, 2016. The airport was really “born” in 1926 and has had operations since then. She’s really 90!
If you dig back into the history of what now is known as DCA, you will find that Hoover Field opened as the first airport near the Capital with a terminal in 1926. Since congestion was not a problem then, the airport’s single runway had a traffic crossing. A street intersected the tarmac and a policeman stopped the cars when a plane approached or departed.
Hard to believe, but in 1927 a private owner opened Washington Airport adjacent to Hoover. Three years later, the Depression’s hard times brought the competitors to the financial reality that two airports should merge to become one- Washington–Hoover Airport.
Even consolidated, the safety of this facility was poor—surrounded by high-tension electrical wires, obstructed by a high smokestack on one approach and a dump nearby. True to the history of Washington airports, while 37 studies found that a new airport MUST be built, there was no movement until Congress deleted a statutory prohibition against the federal government from owning/operating an airport. President Roosevelt then funded the construction in 1940and the project was completed in 1941—thus the claim that the lady is only 75.
MWAA has an interesting full history of this airport, which surrounded by National Park Service land (what’s the other?). Here are the highlights of DCA, its operations, commercial service, building development, ground transit additions/revisions, policies and legal authority.
|1938||President Roosevelt selected the site for the new Washington National Airport.|
|1940||Dedication of the Washington National Airport by President Roosevelt.|
|1941||Airport opened for business June 16th with one hangar completed and five under construction.|
|1949||First fixed-based operator (private aircraft service business) opened for general aviation business.|
|1950||South extension of Main Terminal completed.|
|1956||Runway 9/27 closed, became taxiway Alpha.|
|1958||North Terminal opened. Pan American Airlines first jet (Boeing 707) christened at National Airport.|
|1964||Construction of air cargo building.|
|1965||Construction of United Airlines holdrooms and ticketing facilities completed.|
|1966||Jet aircraft began operating at National Airport.|
|1968||Opened new American Airlines’ facility and gates.|
|1970||Commuter Terminal Opened. NW/TWA facilities opened.|
|1973||Start of Metrorail construction on the airport.|
|1977||One-way road system placed into operation. Metrorail service to the airport began.|
|1982||Nighttime noise level limitations policy put into effect.|
|1986||Bill transferring the operation of National and Dulles to a new regional Airports Authority was signed by President Reagan.|
|1987||The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority began operations.|
|1989||Interim Terminal (Hangar 11) opened. Commuter Terminal closed.|
|1991||First parking garage (Garage A) opened on the airport on November 26.|
|1993||Construction of the New Terminal started.|
|1996||Parking Garage B/C opened.|
|1997||A new Airport Traffic Control Tower was commissioned by FAA on May 12.|
|1997||Terminal B/C opened on July 27.|
|1998||Abingdon Plantation site restored and Exhibit Hall opened.|
|1999||Completed improvements to Mt. Vernon Bridge Trail.|
|2001||Reagan National Airport reopens to commercial aircraft operations on October 4 after being closed for 23 days following September 11th terrorist attacks.|
|2004||The airside façade (facing the runways) of Historic Terminal A is restored.|
|2005||With many new restrictions in place, the federal government allowed General Aviation to return to Reagan National for the first time since September 11, 2001.|
|2007||18.7 million passengers travel at Reagan National Airport – a new record.|
|2008||The landside façade (facing the roadways) of Historic Terminal A is restored.|
|2010||A 1400-space expansion of the parking garages is completed. The former American Airlines ticketing lobby in Terminal A is renovated to become the new JetBlue ticketing lobby.|
|2011||A 9-foot bronze statue of Ronald Reagan is dedicated along the Airport entrance roadway on November 1.|
|2012||Projects to resurface Runway 1/19, install new Runway 1 approach equipment and extend the Runway Safety Area are completed.
In 2014, the renovation of Terminal A was completed, adding new lighting, new floors and an expanded security mezzanine area.
We promise not to tell anyone what’s your real age!!!