If you’re planning to attend the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, be aware that it promises to be one for the books, offering both celebrations – and public protests.

The official Inauguration Day events begin at noon on Friday, January 20 on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, with the Vice President-elect and President-elect taking the Oaths of Office, followed by the inaugural address. The Inauguration Parade follows at about 2 PM.

You may prefer to arrive on Thursday, January 19, in time join the President-elect and Vice President-elect at Arlington National Cemetery to lay wreaths honoring American troops.

On Saturday, January 21, the new President and Vice President will attend an interfaith prayer service held at Washington’s National Cathedral, located at 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW. (Download the official map and guidelines to the Inaugural Ceremonies).

Even routine Presidential inaugurations generate a significant increase in air traffic to and from the Washington, DC area. This year, heightened security measures require that you and your flight crew take extra care in flying to and from the DC Metro area January 19-22. Here is some critical information to help make your trip to Washington as smooth and trouble-free as possible.

When it comes to destinations, you and your flight crew have three major Washington area airports from which to choose, each with excellent ground handling facilities: Reagan National (DCA), 5 miles from the Capitol; and Dulles International (IAD) and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), both more than 30 miles from the event. In addition, Manassas (VA) Regional Airport (HEF) is located 37 miles away.

DCA’s proximity to the Capitol requires that you, your passengers, and flight crew be prescreened, properly qualified, and vetted through the DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP), which allocates 48 landing slots daily to corporate and general aviation aircraft (Click here for information on DASSP). There may be additional restrictions limiting DCA access during key events before, during, and after the Inauguration, so keep updated as the day draws nearer.

If you prefer IAD or BWI, be aware that fixed base operations (FBOs) at both airports require a ramp reservation, and aircraft parking space at both airports is filling up fast. If you plan to attend and have not yet informed your flight crew, fractional provider, or charter operator, do so immediately. Without a reservation, they may have to drop you at the FBO terminal and ferry to another area airport to park, and then ferry back when you are ready to depart, resulting in increased costs and decreased convenience.

Departure slots will be required out of IAD during the entire Inauguration Weekend, which will be managed by the IAD FBOs. Contact your chosen IAD FBO secure your departure slot if you are flying in and/or out between January 20 and 22.

Signature Flight Services

Flight Planning For the 2017 Inauguration

Washington Dulles International (IAD) Departure Slot Requirements

  • Departure slots will be required for aircraft departing IAD between Friday, Jan. 20 and Sunday, Jan. 22. Departure slots can be obtained through an IAD FBO of choice (Ross Aviation or Signature Flight Support). Slots will be divided equally between the two FBOs at IAD.
  • It is also recommended that flight operators provide an arrival date and time so FBOs are aware of flight details.

Washington Dulles International (IAD) Parking Plans

  • Overnight or extended operations can expect to park at a site on the west side of the airfield. Runway 1L/19R will be closed to provide additional space for aircraft parking, with more available on the west portion of the “W” pad. Aircraft will proceed directly to the west side parking spots upon arrival.
  • The FBOs will provide ground transportation to and from the aircraft and their facility.
  • The FBOs will do everything possible to enable aircraft not parking to have you deplane at their main ramps adjacent the Executive Terminals without having have to utilize the secondary more distant parking areas.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

As noted above, business aviation access to DCA is limited to participants in the DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP). Be aware that even DASSP operations will not be allowed while the Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) are in place on Inauguration Day, January 20. Additional restrictions may limit DCA access during the key events before and after the inauguration.

Other Washington DC Metro Area Airports

  • All DC metro airports are likely to see increased traffic demand.
  • It is strongly recommended that aircraft operators who are planning to go to the inauguration contact their FBO of choice and provide arrival and departure dates and times, to ensure that parking is available, and to receive advance instructions on where they can expect to park. Making reservations with an FBO will help to expedite both arrivals and departures. It will also be important for operators to advise FBOs as to whether they will be a drop-and-go operation, or remaining overnight.

Additional details can be found on the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) website. BAA

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Gil Wolin
Gil Wolin is Publisher of Business Aviation Advisor magazine. A frequent speaker at national and regional events, Mr. Wolin is a member of the National Business Aviation Association, the Massachusetts Airport Management Association, and Business Aviation Professionals of New England. He currently serves on the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Presidential Advisory Board. He is a past director of the National Air Transportation Association, and a past member of the Corporate Angel Network Advisory Board.

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