For Immediate Release

November 19, 2008
Contact: Marcia Alexander-Adams or Arlene Salac/Jim Peters
Phone: (202) 267-3488 or (718) 553-3015 (NY)


Washington Dulles International Airport began operations on November 17, 1962, with three runways. Today, almost 46 years later, the airport opened a forth runway to better serve the residents of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and the approximately 11 million passengers who pass through on an annual basis. The airport is the busiest of the three large hub airports serving the metropolitan area in passenger boardings and aircraft operations. It is operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which also operates Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The third airport in the metropolitan area is Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, which is operated by the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Runway Benefits

  • The new runway, 1L/19R, will enhance the airport’s capacity and potentially accommodate 100,000 additional annual aircraft operations and decrease the average delay per operation by 2.5 minutes.
  • While the new runway provides the potential for approximately 100,000 additional annual operations, the actual use will depend on the growth of passenger demand.
  • Depending on the number of passengers per aircraft, the new runway could serve an additional three million annual passenger boardings.
  • The opening of this new runway at Washington Dulles will allow the airport to close the center runway (1C/19C) for needed reconstruction in the summer of 2009 without increasing delays for the airport users. The project will cost about $83 million.

Runway Facts

  • The new runway is 9,400 feet long, 150 feet wide and constructed with 17-inch thick concrete.
  • With the opening of the new runway, the airport will have four active runways, three parallel runways and a crosswind runway.
  • The total cost of the runway is estimated at $356 million, including approximately $200 million in Airport Improvement Program funding.

Runway Timeline

  • October 2005 – the FAA issued the environmental Record of Decision for the project
  • June 2006 – the construction of the fourth runway began
  • November 2008 – the fourth runway opens

Airport Information

  • In 2007, the airport ranked 21st busiest in the U.S. with 11.8 million passengers boarding an aircraft at Washington Dulles.
  • In 2007, the airport ranked 16th busiest in the U.S. with 419,127 annual aircraft operations.
  • Washington Dulles is situated on 13,000 acres of land, compared to Ronald Reagan Washington National which is on 861 acres. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall is situated on 3,160 acres.

Other Interesting Information

  • The airport did not need to buy a single parcel of land for noise compatibility to construct the new runway at Washington Dulles because the counties and communities surrounding the airport implemented land-use controls limiting nearby development to compatible uses.
  • The MWAA focused its environmental program associated with the new runway on environmentally friendly methods or Low Impact Development (LID) practices. One unique LID application was the Biological Treatment Unit (BTU). The two primary functions of the BTUs were to treat storm water runoff that contains fugitive deicing fluids that occur outside the contained centralized deicing areas and to remove total phosphorous from storm water runoff.