Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is located roughly three miles from the downtown area of Washington, DC. The airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States. The operation of the airport is handled by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Although Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is one of the busiest airports in the country, it is not the busiest airport in the Washington, DC area. Dulles International Airport is the busier of the two major airports in the DC area because it handles most of the international flights. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is used almost exclusively for domestic traffic in the United States.
Even though it is the less busy of the two major DC area airports, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport still gets an incredible amount of air traffic. Over 18 million passengers make their way through the airport every year, almost all of them domestic air travelers. The only international air traffic that is allowed at Ronald Reagan is private and corporate jet traffic. All commercial international traffic is forced to go through Dulles International Airport.
History of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Hoover Field was the first major airport in the Washington, DC region. It was a small airport that had a single runway. Hoover Field opened in 1926, and in 1930 it became Washington-Hoover Airport. This small airport did a very poor job of handling all the air traffic in the area, but a Congressional ban on the development of airports kept the situation from changing for many years.
In 1938, the ban was lifted. President Franklin D. Roosevelt immediately appropriated $15 million for the construction of Washington National Airport. The construction of the airport began in 1940. Construction was completed by the following year. Washington National Airport opened its doors to the public on June 16, 1941.
Washington National Airport changed very little for several decades after its opening in 1941. It was not until the 1990s that the airport’s buildings received a much needed overhaul. Two new terminals were built to handle the increased air traffic that Washington National Airport had added over the years. There are now three terminals in use at the airport. They are Terminal A, Terminal B and Terminal C.
On February 6, 1998, President Bill Clinton signed legislation into law that changed the name of Washington National Airport into its current form, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. This was done to honor the former president on his 87th birthday.
Parking at the Airport
There are numerous parking options for visitors to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. There is an hourly parking area that is for passengers that will be at the airport for a duration of less than two hours. A little farther away from the terminals there are daily parking lots that offer a more economical rate for passengers that will be staying for more than a couple hours. There are also economy parking lots available for passengers who will be leaving their cars parked for long stays. All these lots offer free shuttles to all three main terminals of the airport.
An interesting bit of trivia about Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is that it is located on the former site of one of the most prominent plantations of the Old South. The Abington Plantation was owned by four of the most prominent, powerful Virginia families of the colonial era: the Custis, Stuart, Hunter and Alexander families.
Artifacts from the Abington Plantation are on display in Terminal A for visitors to enjoy. Two of the plantation buildings are preserved in a spot that is between Parking Garage A and Parking Garage B/C.