Night flights disrupted at Washington National Airport
Washington National Airport, federally named after former President Ronald Reagan in 1998, will close its main runway for repairs in the coming weeks.
Aviation Observer JohnNew York flags “Nothing bigger than the A319 can land after 10pm” at Washington National Airport during runway work.
Main runway 1/19, aligned north-south, extends 6,869 feet. This is not enough for a fully loaded wide-body aircraft, but more than enough for a larger narrow-body aircraft. The secondary runway that aircraft will need to divert to during the closure is approximately 25% shorter at 5,204 feet.
Even the main runway limits the number of planes that can fly at the airport. For example,
There are currently several flights scheduled that will require a change of aircraft as arrivals are limited to a shorter runway. For example, an American Airlines Boeing 737 from Chicago should arrive at 22:29, and a Boeing 737 MAX from Miami at 23:53. Presumably, these flights will be reduced.
However, I’m wondering what will happen to the completion rate of earlier flights scheduled for larger aircraft that were supposed to arrive before the runway close at 10:00 pm, but which are delayed? Since apparently they will have to cancel.
There is a common misconception that there is a curfew at the National Airport, but this is not true. There are noise restrictions at night from 22:00 to 06:59. When they were introduced over 40 years ago, many aircraft did not meet these standards and could not operate at the airport during this period without penalty. However, modern aircraft generally comply with airport noise regulations.
In fact, the airport also has a third runway, 4-22, which is only 4,911 feet high. It has little use because it is not suitable for commercial operations and very little general aviation traffic is allowed at the airport. Very few politicians and dignitaries can even get a permit given that the Restricted Flight Zone was introduced after 9/11 due to the airport’s proximity to high-profile government buildings. All but scheduled commercial and government flights require an FAA waiver.
Update: JohnNew York indicates that it will be inconvenient for high-level politicians, especially given the possible delays that could lead to more cancellations (or possibly rejections).
Now, of course, DCA (well, DC) has a unique characteristic; elected officials. So I feel like it makes something like that more “delicate” there than it is elsewhere. And my personal belief is that it will manifest itself in certain – perhaps at times funny – ways during this
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) March 21, 2023
My guess is that this may include more cabinet secretaries using this as an argument for a private flight. The convenience of politicians was a key barrier when the airport was transferred from the federal government to the local community – a key concession was the preservation of free nearby parking for members of Congress and others …