Reagan National and Dulles International Airports Served More than 45M Passengers in 2016

by Lee Hernly, Editor

Across-the-Board Passenger Growth Sets New Records at Both Airports

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority reported this week that Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport served 45.6 million passengers in 2016—growing 1.9 percent year-over-year to the highest annual passenger total in the two-airport system’s history. Increases were driven by record-breaking domestic airline activity at Reagan National Airport and international activity at Dulles International Airport combined with sustained growth of domestic service at Dulles.

Reagan National passenger traffic set a sixth consecutive record in 2016, serving 23.6 million. Growth was fueled by passenger increases on Southwest, Delta, United, JetBlue and Frontier. Passenger figures for American, the airport’s largest carrier, were comparable with 2015 levels.

The Airports Authority is beginning a multi-year project in 2017 to alleviate congestion, transforming the passenger experience at Reagan National by constructing new security checkpoints that improve post-security connectivity while replacing the 14 outdoor boarding areas that comprise Gate 35X with a new regional concourse that keeps passengers out of the weather.

At Dulles International, the region’s largest international hub, international traffic grew for the 13th consecutive year to a record 7.5 million passengers. Domestic activity also increased for a second straight year, growing overall passenger traffic by 1.5 percent to 21.8 million in 2016. The uptick was supported by domestic growth of United’s Dulles hub operations, while Air Canada, LAN Peru and Royal Air Maroc began new international service. Other carriers contributing to passenger increases included Emirates, Qatar, Copa, Icelandair, South African, Ethiopian, Aer Lingus and Turkish Air.

Additionally, the Airports Authority completed several improvements at Dulles International in 2016 aimed at providing added conveniences and an improved experience for travelers. Such enhancements include 11 new shops and restaurants, introduction of the CLEAR registered traveler program and Mobile Passport app, additional Dulles Passport Express kiosks in the International Arrivals Building, a new children’s play area near gate B70 and a new on-airport Sunoco convenience store with expanded food options and fueling stations.

Improvements completed at Reagan National in 2016 included the debut of CLEAR registered traveler and the opening of 20 new shops restaurants, such as Green Beans Coffee, Georgetown Gourmet Market, El Centro and the Smithsonian Museum Store. Smashburger opened in January 2017, and construction is set to begin on Chick-fil-A, which is expected to open in the summer.

Detailed 2016 travel statistics for Reagan National and Dulles International Airports can be found online (PDF).

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority operates Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road and also manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail public transit system through Fairfax County and into Loudoun County, Virginia. More than 45 million passengers a year pass through the two airports. The Airports Authority generates more than generates more than 387,000 jobs in the National Capital Region.

(Photo via Roger W, on Flickr)

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