AIRPORT NAME: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
OFFICIAL AIRPORT DESIGNATOR: DCA
LOCATION: The airport is located in Virginia. Federal law and Virginia Code both state the airport is "situated within the Commonwealth of Virginia" (see 59 Stat. 552 (1945); 1950 Va. Code Sec 7.1-10 (1983)). There are also court decisions holding the airport is located in Virginia (see Pfister v. Director, Office of Workers Compensation, etc., 675 F.2d 1314, 1315-16 (D.C. Cir. 1982); and Bryan v. District of Columbia Unemployment Compensation Board, 342 A.2d 45 (D.C. Ct. App. 1975)).
LAND: Situated on a total of 860 acres: 733 acres on land and 127 acres underwater
Reagan National has a total of 58 gates: 9 in Terminal 1 and 49 in Terminal 2.
Historic Terminal 1 (formerly Terminal A)
When opened in 1941, the Airport facility was 115,000 square feet.
The first major expansion was completed in November 1950 when a 297-foot extension to the south end of the Main Terminal added 25,110 square feet of space.
Five years later, the 587 x 17 foot “south finger” was added, increasing the square footage by 9,979 square feet and also providing badly needed aircraft gates and loading positions.
More space for passengers and aircraft quickly became necessary as the annual number of passengers continued to grow. In October 1958, the North Terminal was opened, adding an additional 7,264 square feet of usable space. In 1961, the 772-foot long passageway between the Main and the North Terminals was enclosed. By the mid-1980’s, the facility was crowded again and in need of modernization.
Terminal 2 (formerly Terminal B/C)
Terminal 2 opened on July 27, 1997. The Terminal has 1 million square feet of floor space spread over three levels with direct connections to the Metrorail public transportation system and public parking garages via two enclosed pedestrian bridges. The Terminal's two-level roadway system improves traffic flow through the Airport by sorting arriving and departing traffic.
The Terminal provides 100 ticket counters, 12 baggage claims, 4 piers where airline gates are located, and a connector to Terminal 1.
New Concourse and Security Checkpoints
Record passenger growth and consolidation in the airline industry led to the addition of outdoor regional aircraft parking positions at Reagan National. The Airports Authority and American Airlines worked together to respond to customer feedback and improve the experience for regional aircraft passengers by designing and constructing a new 14-gate concourse. The 225,000-square-foot New Concourse building opened to passengers in April 2021 - marking the permanent closure of Gate 35X and its busing operation. American Airlines relocated its regional flights to the concourse's 14 new gates.
In another effort to address increased terminal congestion as a result of record-breaking passenger growth, The Airports Authority in collaboration with its airport partners, opened two new 50,000-square-foot security checkpoint buildings in November 2021. After clearing the new checkpoints, passengers are able to move freely between gate areas without having to be re-screened. The resulting terminal reconfiguration provides passengers an improved post-security experience — alleviating gate area congestion while expanding access to a variety of shopping, dining and seating options.
The Airport was originally designed with four runways: the main north-south runway at 6,855 feet; a northwest-southeast runway at 5,210 feet; a northeast-southwest runway at 4,892 feet; and an east-west runway at 4,100 feet.
Over the years, the runways have changed only slightly in length with one exception. The east-west runway was closed in 1956 to be used as a taxiway and for aircraft parking.
Today, the airfield contains three runways. Runway 1/19, the main north-south runway, is 7,169 feet. In the 1980's, overruns were added to each end of this runway. In 2012, the runway was resurfaced and extended to increase the runway safety area. The other two runways are Runway 15/33 at 5,204 feet, and Runway 4/22 at 5,000 feet.
Public parking is available for more than 8,500 vehicles providing hourly, daily and economy options. Terminal 1 is served by a five-level parking garage that is connected to the terminal and includes rental car facilities. Terminal 2 is served by a parking garage that is connected to the terminal at both ends. Courtesy shuttle buses are provided to and from both Terminals to the Economy Lot.
On average, more than 3,000 taxicabs are dispatched at the Airport every day. The Airport is also served by seven car rental companies on-airport, and two car rental companies off-airport.
Fixed Base Operators
Signature Flight Support serves as the Fixed Base Operator for the general aviation community with 31,000 square feet for terminal, administrative and office space located in Hangar 7 at the south end of the Airport. In October 2005, the federal government allowed General Aviation to return to Reagan National for the first time since September 11, 2001 with many new restrictions in place.
There are nearly 100 shops and restaurants in the Airport Terminals with a mix of national, local and regional retail and food concessions. More information about shopping and dining is available here.
Operations and Statistics
National Airport served 344,257 passengers the year it opened in 1941, and reached the 1 million annual passenger mark in 1946.
Aircraft noise regulations were instituted prior to commercial jet operations at the Airport. Aircraft flight patterns follow the Potomac or Anacostia Rivers, and pilots practice power thrust reduction on takeoff to reduce noise impacts. There are also nighttime aircraft noise requirements in effect from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Slot and Perimeter Rules
Primarily serving as a "short-haul" airport, Reagan National offers nonstop service to destinations no further than a 1,250 mile perimeter from Washington, D.C. as part of the federally-instituted “Perimeter Rule.” Over the years, the federal government has granted exceptions to this rule, allowing daily flights to several cities beyond the perimeter: Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Ore., San Diego and Austin.
The “slot rule” was created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1969 at five high-density airports to reduce congestion and spur growth at other nearby airports. Reagan National’s slot rule limits the number of landings and takeoffs to 62 per hour. Federal legislation in 2000, 2003 and 2012 added 24, 22 and 8 new slots, respectively.