Welcome to the WATF 

The Washington Airports Task Force (WATF) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that advocates for expanding and enhancing aviation services in Virginia and the National Capital Region. WATF is the only organization whose mission is to support our Virginia airports and its users, including passenger and cargo airlines, corporate and general aviation and others who benefit directly or indirectly from airport operations. WATF is focused on positioning Washington Dulles International Airport (Dulles) for continued growth while sustaining the gains already made and supporting Reagan National Airport (National) in a changing air transportation environment. 

WATF at-a-Glance 

55-member Board of Directors comprised of the region’s and Virginia state business leaders who recognize both Dulles and National as economic engines that fuel our regional, Northern Virginia and Virginia economies. Dedicated staff of four professionals with a background in airport operations, community development, and marketing. Administers Foreign Trade Zone #137, which serves the Dulles region by providing a competitive advantage, by way of savings on Customs duties, for companies with locations on U.S. soil. Serves as convening force for consumer, civic, and economic interests in a region where growth is directly tied to the success of our airports. Has a history of taking on hard to solve issues for the benefit of our airports and stakeholders.

The Honorable A. Linwood Holton, Jr. In Memoriam 1923 - 2021

“Governor Holton will be remembered for his immense service to the Commonwealth and as the ‘Godfather’ of our Airports.”

In June 1984, responding to the need to vastly improve the facilities at National Airport, as well as to expand and enhance Washington Dulles International Airport, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole appointed a commission to determine feasible means to bring about a “transfer" of both airports from the federal government to regional control. The Commission was chaired by Linwood Holton.

The “Holton Commission,” as it came to be known, ultimately concluded that the formation of a regional authority was the best approach. The airports would still be owned by the federal government, but the regional authority—the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA)—would operate a two-airport system, as well as oversee infrastructure improvements and renovations designed to position the region for anticipated growth. Their report contained specific recommendations on the powers that MWAA would have, as well as specific recommendations for the precise regional make-up of its governing body, its board of directors.

Following the conclusion of the Holton Commission and issuance of its report, legislation was introduced in the U.S. Congress to transfer the airports. Once the transfer was approved, the very first person to chair the Board of Directors for the newly formed MWAA was none other than Linwood Holton.

To recognize his achievements, Linwood Holton and Elizabeth Dole received the Williams Trophy, which is presented each year by the Washington Airports Task Force (WATF) to recognize those whose “Leadership, Vision and Dedication in the Application of Aviation or Space Enriched the Quality of Life on Earth.” In addition, he served on the WATF Board of Directors for over two decades.

Linwood Holton also served as Governor of Virginia from 1970 to 1974. His time as Governor was marked by his work against segregation in Virginia. In 1970, when desegregation was an issue in the state, he voluntarily placed his children in the mostly black Richmond Public Schools, garnering much publicity. As Governor, he increased employment of blacks and women in state government, created the Virginia Governor’s School Program, provided the first state funds for community mental health centers, and supported environmental efforts.

Governor Holton grew up in Southwest Virginia, graduated from Washington and Lee University and received his law degree from Harvard. He served in the U.S. Navy in the submarine service during WWII.

Governor Holton’s work in the 1980s to transfer the airports to MWAA helped set the stage for the remarkable growth we have seen in this region in terms of job opportunities and access to global markets.

2021 Dulles Jingle on the Runway 5K/10K

Lots of fun had by all!!