On Tuesday, July 14, Jack Potter, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), and Rusty Conner, Chairman of MWAA, joined the NVTC Board of Directors at LMI in McLean to share updates on MWAA's plans, the role of our airports in the region's economy and the challenges MWAA faces. MWAA is responsible for operating and capital improvements at both Reagan National and Dulles airports.
In his remarks, Conner provided background on the airports as contributors to the region’s economy, stating they provide more than 4.5 percent of the region’s annual gross domestic product and that the 378,000 jobs provided by MWAA make it the second largest regional employer behind the federal government. He also explained the challenges MWAA has faced in building rail to Dulles.
|From left: NVTC Board Member Scott Hommer of Venable, NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg, MWAA Chairman Rusty Conner, MWAA CEO Jack Potter, NVTC Chair Todd Stottlemyer of Inova Center for Personalized Health, and NVTC Chair Emeritus Sudhakar Kesavan of ICF during the NVTC Board meeting on July 14.|
Potter addressed some of MWAA’s operational challenges, including managing the limited flight slots at Reagan National, declining passenger numbers at Dulles and increasing costs. He outlined several ways MWAA leaders are attempting to tackle these challenges, including recompeting service contracts, attempting to achieve economies of scale by competing contracts for both airports together, better managing IT and engineering costs, upgrading concessions and renegotiating airline leases. Potter argued that a culture shift is necessary, so that people and businesses view the airports as an asset to the region.
The meeting ended with a lively Q&A with Board members, during which Potter and Conner addressed concerns about the passenger experience at Dulles, which can be difficult and does affect the usage of Dulles. Potter was very responsive to the need to improve the passenger experience and stated that he and the MWAA leadership are working hard to accomplish that.