Dulles Airport Celebrates 50th Birthday

Airport served over 23 million last year

Saturday, Nov 17, 2012  |  Updated 9:54 AM EDT
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Dulles Airport Celebrates 50th Birthday

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Dulles International Airport

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Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Washington Dulles International Airport.

The airport opened for business on Nov. 17, 1962, with President John F. Kennedy speaking at the dedication.

The airport is named in honor of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who served from 1953 to 1959.

Dulles first handled 1 million passengers in 1966. Last year the airport served more than 23 million passengers, including 6.5 million international passengers.

Airport officials say Dulles was the first airport in the nation designed to accommodate commercial jetliners. The 10,000-acre site in Chantilly has allowed the airport, which is completing a multi-billion dollar expansion, room to grow.

However, that growth has created its own problems. Airport officials say the expansion resulted in costs that could put it at a competitive disadvantage.

And recently the authority that runs both Dulles and Reagan National airports has been criticized for mismanagement, nepotism and lax contracting policies.

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