The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has announced that JetBlue will move to Terminal B/C, Virgin America will operate full-time in Terminal B/C and Southwest Airlines will expand in Terminal A at Reagan National Airport as a result of increased air service from all three airlines. The carriers will begin moving to the new locations, which resulted from service changes as part of the American Airlines/US Airways merger, this summer. Although the airlines increasing services have not fully announced their flight schedules, some new flights will start as early as June 19.
“In order to maintain smooth passenger flows and minimise bottlenecks, we have had to shift some airline locations at Reagan National to accommodate the new air service from JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America,” said Airports Authority Chief Operating Officer Margaret McKeough. “Reagan National’s facilities are already near capacity as a result of record passenger levels in 2013. The planned location changes will allow the airport to handle as many as 2 million additional passengers per year predicted from this new service.”
Reagan National is one of the few US slot controlled airports. JetBlue has permanently acquired 20 round-trip flights, Southwest obtained 27 round-trips, while Virgin America added four round-trips from the combined American Airlines and US Airways divestiture for slots at Reagan National, as required by the Department of Justice. As a result of the new service, Southwest will become the third-largest carrier at the airport, handling 11% of daily departures, behind the new American (56%) and Delta (12%). JetBlue will grow to 7% of daily departures, up from 3%, and Virgin America will handle 1% of daily departures.
Additionally, air traffic statistics for January 2014 showed the Airports Authority served 3 million passengers for the month. The number represents a dip in air travel for the month at both Reagan National and Dulles International, compared to the previous year, and reflects the impact of repeated snow and ice events, which caused significant flight delays and cancellations both locally and throughout the country. However, even with the multiple winter storms, Washington Dulles International continued to increase its international passenger traffic, growing by 3.2% compared with last year.