Reagan National, Dulles set new records for growth

WASHINGTON — A record number of passengers traveled through Reagan National Airport last year and international travel at Dulles International Airport grew for the 13th consecutive year, according to new figures released Wednesday by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates the two airports.

“Reagan National has set new passenger records for six years straight, 2016 being no different,” said MWAA spokesman Rob Yingling.

Throughout the year, 23.6 million passengers traveled through Reagan National.

Dulles set a record for international travelers with 7.5 million and saw modest growth on its domestic flights, pushing the total number of airport passengers to around 22 million.

The airports authority has, in recent years, focused its efforts on making Dulles more competitive by reducing costs to the airlines that serve it and “correcting structural imbalances between the two airports that have resulted in record growth at Reagan National at the expense of Dulles International,” according to MWAA.

Overall, the number of travelers — 45.6 million — who flew in and out of both airport in 2016 was the highest passenger total the airports authority has ever seen.

In 2015, the two-airport system served 44.7 million passengers, an increase of 5.4 percent when compared with 2014.

“We’re seeing signs of economic improvement, leading to more travel, particularly at Reagan National,” Yingling said.

“At Dulles, we’re seeing encouraging signs of continued domestic growth, as well as international growth.”

BWI Marshall Airport also had a record year with 25.1 million passengers moving through the airport in 2016. BWI had monthly records for each month during the year and has broken monthly passenger records for 18 consecutive months.

The airport’s international passenger traffic topped 1.2 million last year, also a record. 2016 was the second straight year with more than one million international passengers. BWI’s international passenger count has been growing by double digits, prompting the need for terminal expansion at the airport, though Dulles International still operates the most international flights in the D.C. region.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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