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.
The Washington Airports Task Force Mourns Passing of Jim Wilding
Jim Wilding, former President and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), passed away on February 24. Jim Wilding personified excellence in both public service and business leadership, and his contributions to the state of aviation in the Metropolitan Washington Region benefit everyone who lives and visits our area. We are indebted to him for his many years of dedicated service and will be grateful for his legacy for years to come. Mr. Wilding's aviation career spans forty-three years – all of them at the Washington airports. He graduated as a Civil Engineer with a degree from the Catholic University of America and joined the FAA in 1959 to participate in the original planning and development of Washington Dulles International Airport (Dulles). Following the opening of Dulles in 1962, he held progressively responsible positions in all phases of engineering for the two federally owned airports – Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (National) – eventually becoming the organization's Chief Engineer. He served as Chief Engineer until becoming the Airports' Deputy Director in 1975, and then the Director four years later. Mr. Wilding served in that capacity as the Director of the FAA's Metropolitan Washington Airports organization from December 1979 until the June 1987 transfer of the airports to the new Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, when he assumed his President's position. While serving in the FAA's Senior Executive Service, Mr. Wilding won several Presidential and Department of Transportation Awards, including the Secretary of Transportation's Gold Medal, the highest award in the Transportation Department. During his tenure as President/CEO of MWAA, he oversaw a massive capital development program at both airports totaling well over $3 billion dollars. Under his leadership, National was modernized as a result of the new terminal building, which opened in 1997, bringing major improvements to traffic management on the airport as well as improved connections to the Metro system. At Dulles, he directed the extensive growth during the l990s that required the expansion of the world-famous Saarinen-designed terminal, construction of new concourses, and the building of the airport's first parking garages. During his tenure leading MWAA, passenger activity at the two airports nearly doubled to 31 million passengers in 2002. In addition to his involvement in the region's air service, he earned a national and international reputation as an expert in the industry. Mr. Wilding served as the Chairman of the Airports Council International - North America, on the Board of Directors of the regional organization and on the Board of its worldwide parent based in Geneva, Switzerland. He served as the President of the Aero Club of Washington and on the Policy Review Committee of the American Association of Airport Executives. He was an active participant in regional affairs. Mr. Wilding chaired the United Way Campaign of Arlington County Virginia. He was a member of the Economic Development Commission of Arlington County and served on the Board of Directors as well as the Executive Committee of the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce. He served on the Advisory Board of the Eno Transportation Foundation, the Board of the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation, on both the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Dulles Area Transportation Association and served on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board. When Jim retired, WATF Board member Leo Schefer asked him what he considered his greatest achievement, and Jim said it was “extending the runway at National Airport because it saved lives” – a measure of the man. Keith Meurlin said, “If it were not for Jim and his quality of leadership, our airports would never have moved away from the FAA to an Authority and be as successful as they are now. Jim was passionate about the airports. He was a great mentor to many and led with a great vision of what our airports could do for the region. Jim will be greatly missed by many who worked for and with him over the years.”