The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has proposed a new concourse at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia to replace outdoor boarding areas currently used by regional flights.
The proposed Tier-2 Concourse (East) would be a modern 14-gate facility with convenient access to the airport’s underground Aerotrain system and would include new shops, restaurants and other customer services. It would replace gates built in the 1990s at the eastern end of Concourse A, where many regional-flight passengers currently go outdoors to access their planes via covered walkways.
Jack Potter, president and CEO of MWAA, said, “This new concourse would represent a major improvement in the passenger experience at the regional gates. It is the first step in a long-term strategy to expand and enhance the facilities and services at Dulles International Airport as we look toward the future.”
To attain partial funding for the project, the MWAA has applied for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant under the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes a competitive grant program to help airports upgrade or replace aging facilities. The application seeks US$230m to begin development of the 37,000m2 facility, which is expected to ultimately cost between US$500m and US$800m. The MWAA is working with United Airlines, the largest carrier serving Dulles, and other airlines in planning the design, funding and construction of the new concourse.
Nathan Lopp, vice president of corporate real estate at United Airlines, said, “United recognizes the critical importance this new concourse will serve both as an economic driver and job creator in the region. This state-of-the-art facility will also help deliver a best-in-class customer experience for our passengers at Dulles, and provide them with more flights to more destinations – the same goals we have for our United Next strategy. As the leading airline at Washington Dulles, we strongly encourage the FAA to approve MWAA’s grant application.”
MWAA has already completed all the necessary studies for the Tier-2 Concourse (East) project under the National Environmental Policy Act, making the project ‘shovel ready’ under the guidelines of the FAA grant program. The proposed concourse also meets additional criteria of the FAA program, including:
- Improved convenience and connectivity for travelers navigating the airport
- More space (37,000m2 versus 10,200m2 in the current facility) for larger seating areas, more concessions, airline lounges, ADA-compliant restrooms and other amenities
- Larger operational areas for servicing aircraft, handling baggage and other airport and airline support functions
- Enhanced sustainability features, including electric vehicles to service aircraft and carry passengers, increased usage of the electric Aerotrain to move passengers to and from the new gates, and energy-efficient construction featuring LED lighting, high R-value insulation and high-efficiency climate control systems that will follow LEED Silver building standards.
In 2021, MWAA opened a new 14-gate concourse for regional flights at Reagan National Airport, which replaced outdoor boarding areas with spacious new seating areas, concessions and other amenities. The construction program at Reagan National, called Project Journey, also added two large security screening buildings to provide new services and improve the passenger experience.