Lease extension through 2024 strengthens the positive economic impact that aviation activities have on Virginia’s economy CENTRAL VA- Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) and United Airlines recently announced a signed extension of the Airport Use Agreement and Premises Lease for Washington Dulles International Airport though 2024. The current lease was set to expire at the end of 2017, and if it had, Virginia would lose its only “hub” along with many job losses.
Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover), Chairman of the Transportation subcommittee of House Appropriations, was instrumental in crafting the budget language to facilitate this lease extension.
“United employs nearly 5,400 people in the Commonwealth and operates 218 flights daily at their Dulles hub. Extending the lease with United and keeping Dulles competitive is vital to the Virginia economy,” stated Peace. “In the 2016 budget, we provided a strategic investment in this major economic center to help the Airport reduce enplanement costs to ensure the continued operation of a hub airline.”
Peace continued, “Our budget amendment included a number of specific requirements governing receipt of these funds to ensure that amounts were used only to effectuate the long-term viability of the airport and do not serve simply as a short-term solution.”
The Airport Use Agreement and Premises Lease governs operational and financial portions of an airline’s use of airport facilities and sets out the business relationship between airlines and the airport.
Specifically, budget language requires the Secretary of Transportation to certify to the Governor and the General Assembly that the expenditures are in the public interest and must be matched by equal savings generated by MWAA. The amounts provided are to be used to reduce outstanding debt service and offset operating costs. Second year funding is contingent upon MWAA entering into a long-term agreement with a hub airline to continue operating as a hub at Dulles airport through at least calendar year 2024.