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Plans unveiled for new 14-gate concourse at Washington Dulles


The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) is proposing a new concourse at Washington Dulles International Airport to replace outdoor boarding areas currently used by regional flights, upgrade aircraft service facilities and bring new conveniences and amenities to passengers.

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 as well as the latest aircraft-servicing technologies to accommodate future needs.

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.

“This new concourse would represent a major improvement in the passenger experience at the regional gates,” said MWAA’s president and CEO, Jack Potter, calling the project “the first step in a long-term strategy to expand and enhance the facilities and services at Dulles as we look toward the future.”

To attain partial funding for the project, MWAA has applied for a Federal Aviation Administration grant under the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes a competitive grant programme to help airports upgrade or replace ageing facilities.

The application seeks $230 million to begin development of the 400,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to ultimately cost between $500 million and $800 million.

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.

“United recognises the critical importance this new concourse will serve both as an economic driver and job creator in the region,” said Nathan Lopp, the airline’s vice president for corporate real estate.

“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 Federal Aviation Administration to approve the Airports Authority’s grant application.”

Potter said that once the Tier-2 Concourse (East) proposal receives all the necessary approvals for construction and funding, the project would provide hundreds of construction and service jobs, and he also noted that MWAA has completed all the necessary studies for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act, making the project “shovel ready” under guidelines of the FAA grant programme.

The proposed concourse also meets additional criteria of the FAA programme, including:

• Improved convenience and connectivity for travellers navigating the airport;

• More space (400,000 square feet versus 110,000 square feet 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; and

• 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; 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, the airport authority 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.

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