Dulles International Airport will soon be able to generate solar energy on its grounds.
Dominion Energy and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will break ground on a new solar energy and storage project — called Solar + Storage Project — on vacant land near airport today (Tuesday).
The venture is the largest solar energy project developed at a U.S. airport, according to MWAA.
Construction is expected to begin later this year, according to Aaron Ruby, a spokesperson with Dominion Energy. The project will wrap up by late 2026.
“This will be the largest renewable energy project ever developed at a U.S. airport. Millions of travelers flying in and out of Dulles each year will see this powerful symbol of the clean energy transition,” Ruby said.
The utility company plans to install the tens of thousands of solar panels and will build and maintain a 2 megawatt solar carports. MWAA will also have access to electric buses, electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure.
Approved by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in January, the project will cover 800 acres of land and is expected to generate enough electricity to power 25,000 homes, according to the Gazette Leader. It will support both the airport and surrounding neighborhoods through Dominion’s grid.
A groundbreaking on the project is set for 11:30 a.m. Sen. Mark Warner, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and other local and state leaders are expected to attend, according to a press release.
Summer Restaurant Week starts later this month across the region, with more than 30 Fairfax County businesses scheduled to participate.
Hundreds of restaurants are participating during this year’s summer edition, including several Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport eateries — a first for the campaign.
“This year’s Summer Restaurant Week cycle is a special one,” RAMW President and CEO Shawn Townsend said in the press release. “Not only does the promotional week take place during the DC Jazz Festival, we have multiple restaurants participating from our region’s airports, allowing both locals and travelers to the area to take part in the special offerings.”
The restaurants offer brunch and lunch menus for $25 a person and dinner for $40 or $55 a person. There will also be alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink specials as well.
There will be 32 Fairfax County restaurants participating in the upcoming edition, which will run from Monday, Aug. 28 through Sunday, Sept. 3.
- Bistro Atelier — French cuisine
- Bracket Room — Sports bar
- Carrabba’s — Italian food
- Chef Geoff’s — American food
- Devil’s Backbone — Gastropub fare
- District Chop House — Steakhouse
- The Washington Burgundy and Gold Club — American classics
- 2941 Restaurant (2941 Fairview Park Drive) — French cuisine
- Alta Strada Mosaic (2911 District Avenue) — Italian food in the Mosaic District
- B Side (8298 Glass Alley) — American food in the Mosaic District
- Matchbox (2911 District Avenue) McLean, and Reston locations) — Pizza in the Mosaic District
- TRIO Grill (8100 Lee Highway) — American food
- Founding Farmers (1904 Reston Metro Plaza) — Locally sourced food and bar at Reston Station
- Matchbox (1900 Reston Metro Plaza) — Pizza at Reston Station
- North Italia (11898 Market Street) — Italian food at Reston Town Center
- Morton’s (11956 Market Street) — Steakhouse at Reston Town Center
- PassionFish (11960 Democracy Drive) — Seafood restaurant at Reston Town Center
- Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar (1871 Explorer Street) — Peruvian food at Reston Town Center
- The Melting Pot (11730 Plaza America Drive) — A fondue restaurant
- Agora Tysons (7911 Westpark Drive) — Greek/Mediterranean/Turkish
- American Prime (1420 Spring Hill Road) — Steakhouse
- Circa at The Boro (1675 Silver Hill Drive) — American bistro
- Earls Kitchen + Bar (7902 Tysons One Place) — American food at Tysons Corner Center
- Founding Farmers (1800 Tysons Blvd) — Locally sourced food and bar at Tysons Galleria
- Jiwa Singapura (2001 International Drive) — Singapore cuisine at Tysons Galleria
- Joon (8045 Leesburg Pike, Suite 120) — Persian food in Fairfax Square
- Matchbox (1340 Chain Bridge Road) — Pizza in McLean
- North Italia (1651 Boro Place) — Italian cuisine at The Boro
- The Capital Grille (1861 International Drive) — Steakhouse and seafood restaurant in Tysons Corner Center. The Fair Lakes location at 12169 Fair Lakes Promenade Drive is participating as well.
- Wildfire (2001 International Drive) — Steak and seafood in Tysons Galleria
- Wren (1825 Capital One Drive South) — Japanese restaurant at Capital One Center
A proposal to add long-distance flights at Reagan National Airport has officially failed, to the relief of area representatives who feared it would undermine Dulles International Airport.
The House of Representatives rejected the proposal — which was included in a package of changes to the Federal Aviation Administration’s policies that passed overall — by a 229-205 vote on Wednesday (July 19).
Pitched by Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah), the proposal, which would have increased the number of flights that travel beyond 1,250 miles from National Airport, attracted significant pushback from local and regional officials.
In late May, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors said the move would increase flight delays and have a detrimental impact on the local economy, arguing that the Arlington airport lacks the capacity of Dulles Airport just over the Loudoun County border.
Rep. Don Beyer (D) called the defeat of the proposal a win for the region.
“This strong bipartisan vote of opposition should make it clear, as the Senate takes up their own FAA authorization, that proposals to weaken DCA’s slot and perimeter rules do not have majority support in the Congress,” Beyer wrote in a statement.
Fairfax County Board Chairman Jeff McKay lauded the county’s congressional delegation for defeating the proposal.
“It’s clear that this would have been an intrusive and unwelcome addition to DCA and appreciate the bipartisan approach to supporting residents of Fairfax County,” McKay said.
The Board of Supervisors had argued that the proposed changes would disrupt the balance between the region’s two major airports.
Sen. Mark Warner said he was happy to see “sanity win” in the House.
“I’ll continue fighting these changes — which would exacerbate delays and ruin folks’ travel plans — as we consider this legislation in the Senate soon, too,” Warner tweeted.
Glad to see sanity win in the House last night as they defeated chaotic changes to slot rules at DCA! I’ll continue fighting these changes – which would exacerbate delays and ruin folks’ travel plans – as we consider this legislation in the Senate soon, too.
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) July 20, 2023
Issues with a communications system in Warrenton resulted in a temporary suspension of most flights coming into the D.C. area, including at Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a “ground stop” shortly after 6 p.m., pausing departures to the D.C. area so that repairs could be made to a communications system at the Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control facility in Warrenton.
The Potomac TRACON facility controls air space for Dulles, National and several other key airports in the region.
“The facility has switched to a backup system,” the FAA said at 6:27 p.m., noting that departures from the D.C. area and incoming flights from New York were continuing.
By 6:54 p.m., flights from the West Coast, Midwest and Florida had also resumed.
Contrary to initial reports from travelers on Twitter, who said a fire had taken out air traffic control at either Dulles or National Airport, the FAA says there have been no official reports of a fire.
Dulles Airport reported that the ground stop was lifted at 7:07 p.m.
However, departures from Dulles have been delayed by 90 minutes on average, a time frame that may increase, according to the FAA’s latest air systems status update at 6:56 p.m.
Flights from New York bound for D.C. continue, and flights departing D.C.-area airports continue.
Continue to monitor https://t.co/smgdqJN3td for the latest.
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) June 25, 2023
The ground stop has been lifted and flights have resumed.
Please check with your airline for flight status. https://t.co/GmPj06MOHN
— Dulles Airport (IAD) (@Dulles_Airport) June 25, 2023
All DC area air traffic control is offline. And before you call bullshit, the flight I'm on was just rerouted states away as a result.
— RJR Capital (@RJRCapital) June 25, 2023
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) June 25, 2023
More local legislators are pushing back against a federal proposal to allow more long-distance flights at National Airport (DCA).
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously yesterday (Tuesday) to oppose the push to increase the number of flights that travel beyond 1,250 miles from the airport in Arlington.
In a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, the board argued that the effort would undermine Dulles International Airport (IAD), resulting in “detrimental” impacts on the local economy.
The board argues that changes would disrupt the balance between the region’s two major airports and compromise the operating environment for air traffic. The letter also says flight paths for arrivals and departures to the south of DCA have caused major noise issues over residential areas in the county following the implementation of a federal Next Generation Air Transportation System, also known as NextGen.
Board Chairman Jeff McKay emphasized that the issue resolves around public safety. He said that many airline pilots that fly out of DCA say that is one of the “most dangerous” airports to fly in and out of because its designed for specifically-sized airports in the landing area.
“This is not just wrong to impose these changes without a lot of public input, it’s not just wrong for parochial reasons, but it’s wrong to do it in the name of public safety as well, and I think that’s one of the things that’s important for us to emphasize,” McKay said.
Proposing to allow 28 more long-distance flights out of DCA, the bill was introduced on May 10 by Reps. Burgess Owens and Hank Johnson, who represent Utah and Georgia, respectively. It has already faced opposition from Virginia’s senators, a community group looking at the airport’s noise issues, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which manages both DCA and IAD.
Congress is expected to consider the proposal this fall.
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said the issue of airport noise is particularly problematic.
“Mason District is not on a direct path of the airplanes for National, but we are getting increasing numbers of complaints about airplane noise and helicopter noise. So, I’m glad that we’re stepping up and doing this,” Gross said.
Storck said he hopes other efforts can be undertaken to tackle airplane noise, especially in his district. He noted that County Executive Bryan Hill is working with Alexandria and Arlington officials to enlist a consultant that will study ways to mitigate noise impacts.
The county says that maintaining existing perimeter and slot rules is necessary in order to spur growth at Dulles, which is supported by the arrival of Metro’s $6 billion Silver Line extension.
“The interconnectedness of Virgnia’s and the mid-Atlantic’s aviation system makes the continued success of both airports vital to both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Washington Metropolitan Region,” the letter states. “As such, we request your support in preventing further efforts to modify the perimeter and slot rules to protect the balance between the capacities of our region’s airports.”
Two stops on Metro’s Silver Line have risen above all others since the rail line was extended into Loudoun County last fall.
At a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board meeting on Thursday (May 11), Metro Director of Performance Improvement Jordan Holt said that nearly a third of all Silver Line Phase II trips start or end at the Dulles stop. Additionally, a quarter of all trips start or end at Ashburn.
“Downtown D.C. is a draw,” Holt said.
She also noted that more than half of all customers traveling from Silver Line Phase II stations went to one of 12 stations. Roughly 35% went to Silver Line stations in D.C., while 14% traveled to Silver Line stations in Virginia. Three percent went to Union Station.
The extension began service on Nov. 15 after years of delays. The second phase of the Silver Line includes 11.5 miles of the rail line, including stations in Herndon, Reston Town Center, and Innovation Center.
So far, there have been more than 1.1 million trips on the new extension in its first five months of service.
A proposal for more long-distance flights at Reagan National Airport (DCA) is catching the ire of some of Virginia’s Congressional representatives, who say it could undermine efforts to grow Dulles International Airport (IAD).
Proponents led by Capital Access Alliance argue that current restrictions at Reagan National — an airport owned by the federal government — are outdated and hurt the economy. They want to increase the number of flights that travel beyond 1,250 miles from the airport, allowing as many as 25 daily round trips.
According to the Alliance:
Since the late 1960s, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) has been the only airport subject to a federally imposed perimeter rule, which limits the number of flights that are allowed to take-off and land outside a 1,250-mile perimeter. However, the consumer, economic, technological and industry landscape has changed substantially in the last 60 years, and the rule’s original goals no longer apply to today’s air travel ecosystem in the nation’s capital.
The group released a study by Boston Consulting Group that argues more long-distance flights would boost all airlines equally, reduce ticket prices for passengers, and result in millions of dollars in economic growth.
But senators who represent Virginia and Maryland say that the proposal will undermine Dulles, just as more customers may utilize the airport due to the arrival of Metro last year.
In a joint statement issued last Wednesday (April 26), Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said that past efforts to allow exceptions to the perimeter pool have “produced significant stress” on the airport.
“Those changes have also prevented Dulles, whose size allows for larger planes to land and take off, from realizing its full potential as the primary long-haul flight destination for the Washington metropolitan area,” the statement reads.
According to the letter, Reagan National is now seeing more travelers than Dulles, even though the international airport was designed for more capacity.
For over a decade, traffic at DCA has risen sharply, while IAD has declined or stagnated in the same measures. In 2010, total annual enplanements at IAD exceeded those at DCA by more than 5 million. At the end of 2019, before COVID-19 upended the national aviation industry, IAD outpaced DCA by less than a million passengers annually. Now, as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and Americans return to travel, this pattern has worsened. Today, IAD trails DCA by more than 1 million.
The senators go on to argue that loosening the slot and perimeter rules threatened the balance between the airports.
“As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), we will strongly oppose any efforts to disrupt or undermine the balance between Dulles and National, an airport one-fourteenth the size of Dulles,” the statement said.
Warner wrote a similar letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation in March.
Congress is expected to take up the FAA’s reauthorization bill this fall.
Before enduring the indignities of modern airport security, people flying out of Dulles can now calm their nerves by taking in the artistic talents of Fairfax County’s students.
All of the featured work was created by local students at public and private schools. The pieces were going to be included in the Children’s Art Walk that’s typically displayed during the organization’s annual MPAartfest, but the festival got rained out last year.
“We are thrilled to have the artwork of some of our community’s talented young artists on display at Dulles Airport,” MPA Executive Director Lori Carbonneau said. “This is a wonderful example of the community building at the heart of our programming at McLean Project for the Arts.”
The idea of a youth art exhibit at Dulles took root last summer, before the remnants of Hurricane Ian washed out MPAartfest.
As a supporter of MPA’s community arts programming, Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34) invited its leaders to talk to Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) staff, according to the nonprofit. The delegate sits on the group’s advisory board, and her husband William Sudow also happens to chair the MWAA Board of Directors.
“There was a preliminary call late in the summer about [Murphy and Sudow’s] idea to feature youth art from county school students at Dulles,” MPA said, noting that Reagan National Airport is hosting a similar exhibit featuring student artists from D.C.
MPA suggested using art intended for the Children’s Art Walk, which is sponsored by the New Dominion Women’s Club of McLean and compiles work shared by local art teachers.
The final exhibit was assembled by MWAA staff.
“The support of our advisory board member Delegate Kathleen Murphy and her husband, Bill Sudow…led to this opportunity to share art and information about MPA with travelers to and from the D.C. area,” Carbonneau said.
The display can be found by the Transportation Security Administration’s west precheck security checkpoint on the airport’s departures level. For now, the artwork will remain for an indefinite period of time.
“They don’t have a date for when it would be switched out,” MPA spokesperson Deborah Bissen said.
(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) A man from Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty today to assaulting a flight attendant and interfering with the crew on a plane that was headed to Dulles International Airport in October, federal prosecutors announced.
Cherruy Loghan Sevilla, 24, exhibited “erratic and disruptive behavior” during a United Airlines flight from Miami to Dulles on Oct. 4, at one point preventing a flight attendant from getting to her jump seat and groping her, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said.
From the news release:
About an hour into the flight, Sevilla began to exhibit disruptive and erratic behavior, including wandering around the plane, running up and down the aisle, clapping loudly near the cockpit, and yelling obscenities. Sevilla refused to remain seated and laid on the floor in the aisle of the plane, preventing a flight attendant from walking up the aisle to her jump seat to prepare for landing. Suddenly, the defendant jumped up and lunged at this flight attendant, grabbing and twisting her right breast. A passenger, another flight attendant, and an onboard law enforcement officer attempted to pull the defendant off and subdue him. The defendant resisted and, in the struggle, twisted the arm of the second flight attendant.
As USA Today reported in October, the man told agents at the FBI office in Dulles that he took psilocybin — a psychedelic drug also known as “magic mushrooms” — before boarding the plane in Miami, according to an affidavit.
“This was not the first time Sevilla had consumed Psilocybin, and Sevilla said that he was not totally surprised he acted this way after consuming it,” an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. “Sevilla stated that he was sorry for his actions.”
Sevilla has been scheduled for a sentencing hearing on April 21. He could face up to 20 years in prison, though federal crimes are typically sentenced for lower than the maximum penalties, according to the Department of Justice.
Though incidents have declined since March 2022, last year still had 823 reports of unruly passengers — the second-most recorded by the Federal Aviation Administration, behind only the 1,099 incidents reported in 2021.
Photo via John McArthur/Unsplash
(Updated at 2 p.m.) It’s official: after years of rising costs and an ever-lengthening construction timeline, the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line has opened to the public.
A train pulled out of the new Dulles International Airport station for the first time shortly after noon following a celebration this morning, where local, state and regional leaders gathered to mark the opening of the 11.4-mile extension of the rail line into Loudoun County.
If everything went according to schedule, an express Silver Line train departed from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station at 1:15 p.m., carrying winning “Silver Ticket” holders straight to Ashburn. The first passenger train from Ashburn to Downtown Largo will leave a little before 2 p.m., making all stops along the way.
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) November 15, 2022
At this morning’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, which started at 10:30 p.m. at the Dulles station, Rep. Don Beyer said the extension would usher a “once in a generation community infrastructure paradigm shift.”
Metro Board of Directors Chair Paul Smedberg lauded regional and local leaders for coming together to make what was a decades-log planning dream a reality.
“Today represents the best of what transit can do it,” Smedberg said.
Sen. Mark Warner said that the opening is the culmination of years of bi-partisan planning for decades.
“Every one of these speakers are going to come with partially silver hair at this point,” Warner said.
Others characterized the opening as an opening of new opportunities and possibilities.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who noted that today also marks the 60th anniversary of the airport, said she was confident that the Silver Line will offer a “comeback from Covid.”
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Board Chairman Jeff McKay said the extension provides a much-needed investment for the local economy, noting that the county is a significant economic engine for the commonwealth overall.
The long-anticipated project, which cost upwards of $3 billion, brings six new Metro stations to Virginia and activates the Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County with Metrorail service.
“This is the result of what many people before us have done,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
U.S. Department of Transportation @SecretaryPete sharing…
“What we see here with the ⚪️ Silver Line is democracy at work. Democracy 🇺🇸 in action can be a lot to bear. In the end, people have come together to make this work.” #SilverLineExtension #ridesilver #yourmetro #wmata pic.twitter.com/omKQPNp4Uz
— Metro (@wmata) November 15, 2022