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Birthday events in works to celebrate airport’s 60th

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The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority plans a number of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of Washington Dulles International Airport, but isn’t quite ready to roll out plans for the birthday bash.

“You’ll hear more about it in coming months,” CEO Jack Potter said at the June 15 meeting of the authority’s board.

There is some wiggle room to get the schedule finalized: Dulles Airport opened on Nov. 17, 1962, when an Eastern Air Lines Super Electra from Newark became the first flight to land at an airport that took years to establish its niche, owing in large part to a location that, at the time, was well to the west of the region’s population centers.

The airport’s dedication ceremony was attended by President Kennedy; it was named after former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who had died in 1959. (An effort by then-U.S. Sen. Bob Dole in 1990 to rename the airport to honor Dwight Eisenhower failed; Eisenhower’s name currently can be found on the airport in Wichita, Kan.)

The airport saw its first jumbo-jet aircraft (Boeing 747s) in 1970 and began hosting Concorde flights in 1976. Initially known simply as “Dulles Airport” or “Dulles International,” the geographical precursor “Washington” was added in 1984 for a number of reasons, one of them the possibility of confusion between “Dulles” and “Dallas.”

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