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.
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.
For the second time in as many months, the Washington Airports Task Force (WATF) has lost a dear friend and board member and member of our Executive Committee. We are deeply saddened by the passing of The Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, on May 3rd at the age of 90.
Throughout his life, he wore many hats: Army Intelligence Officer; City Councilman; Mayor; Congressman; Secretary of Commerce and of Transportation; Business Executive; as well as husband to his wife “Deni,” father and grandfather to 11 grandchildren. His sage advice and sense of humor will be greatly missed. The San Jose City Council honored Mineta in 2001 by approving changing the name of their airport to “Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport,” ensuring that his legacy will live on.
In 2004, the WATF awarded Mineta the Williams Trophy to honor his leadership qualities and political skills in applying the benefits of air transportation in its many forms to the significant benefit of the citizens of the United States. Norm noted, “Transportation is a key to generating and enabling economic growth, determining the patterns of that growth and determining the competitiveness of our business in the world economy. Transportation is thus key to both our economic success and to our quality of life.”
As the nation’s Secretary of Transportation, Mineta created an environment in which the nation’s air traffic control and airport modernization programs could move forward at an accelerated pace; negotiated for a common transatlantic aviation area with the European Union; and organized management improvements to the Federal Aviation Administration and its air traffic control system, a recommendation of the National Civil Aviation Review Commission in 1997.
Three areas in which WATF members have direct experience of Mineta’s significant contribution to the application of aviation to benefit society are:
- The reopening of Washington Reagan National Airport after its closure following the 9/11 attacks. As Secretary of Transportation, Mineta gave the Administration personal guarantees that the airport’s reopening would not lead to further terrorist attacks. His guarantee helped put 10,000 people back to work and avoided layoffs for a further 70,000 locally, quite apart from the much broader economic and personal travel implications.
- The creation of the Transportation Security Administration. When it was part of the Department of Transportation, Secretary Mineta set a 10-minute standard for the clearance of travelers at the nation’s airports – a standard that was being achieved by the end of 2002 when the TSA was transferred to the newly created Department of Homeland Security.
- As a Congressman and as a Smithsonian Institute Regent, Mineta actively worked for the expansion of the National Air and Space Museum at Washington Dulles International Airport.
To learn more about Norman Mineta’s life and legacy, click here.