Dulles International Airport
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Dulles International Airport

Dulles International Airport
Washington Dulles International Airport logo.svg
Washington Dulles International Airport at Dusk.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorMetropolitan Washington Airports Authority
ServesWashington metropolitan area
LocationDulles, Virginia, U.S.
OpenedNovember 17, 1962 (1962-11-17)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL313 ft / 95 m
Coordinates38°56?40?N 077°27?21?W / 38.94444°N 77.45583°W / 38.94444; -77.45583Coordinates: 38°56?40?N 077°27?21?W / 38.94444°N 77.45583°W / 38.94444; -77.45583
FAA airport Diagram
FAA airport Diagram
IAD is located in Northern Virginia
Location of airport in Virginia / United States
IAD is located in Virginia
IAD (Virginia)
IAD is located in the United States
IAD (the United States)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
1L/19R 9,400 2,865 Concrete
1C/19C 11,500 3,505 Concrete
1R/19L 11,500 3,505 Concrete
12L/30R 10,501 3,201 Concrete
12R/30L 10,500 3,200 Planned
Statistics (2018)
Aircraft operations354,281
Total passengers24,060,709 Increase 5.1%
Source: Federal Aviation Administration,[1] Passenger traffic[2]

Dulles International Airport ( DUL-iss) (IATA: IAD, ICAO: KIAD, FAA LID: IAD), typically referred to as Dulles Airport, Washington Dulles, or simply Dulles, is an international airport in the eastern United States, located in Loudoun and Fairfax counties in Virginia, 26 miles (42 km) west of downtown

Opened in 1962, it is named after John Foster Dulles the 52nd Secretary of State who served under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Dulles main terminal is a well-known landmark designed by Eero Saarinen. Operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Washington Dulles Airport occupies 13,000 acres (20.3 sq mi; 52.6 km2)[1] straddling the Loudoun-Fairfax Most of the airport is in the unincorporated community of Dulles in Loudoun County, with a small portion in the unincorporated community of Chantilly in Fairfax County. The airport serves the Washington metropolitan area.

Dulles is one of the three major airports in the larger Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area with more than 24 million passengers a year.[7][8] Dulles has the most international passenger traffic of any airport in the Mid-Atlantic outside the New York metropolitan area, including approximately 90% of the international passenger traffic in the Baltimore-Washington region.[9] On a typical day, more than 60,000 passengers pass through Dulles to and from more than 125 destinations around the world.[7][10] In 2018, Dulles Airport surpassed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in yearly passenger boardings after having fewer passengers ever since 2015.[11] However, Dulles Airport still ranks behind Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) in total annual passenger boardings.[12]



Prior to World War II, Hoover Field was the main commercial airport serving Washington, on the site now occupied by The Pentagon and its parking lots. It was replaced by Washington National Airport in 1941, a short distance southeast. After the war, in 1948, the Civil Aeronautics Administration began to consider sites for a second major airport to serve the nation's capital.[13]Congress passed the Washington Airport Act in 1950 to provide funding for a new airport in the region.[14] The initial CAA proposal in 1951 called for the airport to be built in Fairfax County near what is now Burke Lake Park, but protests from residents, as well as the rapid expansion of Washington's suburbs during the time, led to reconsideration of this plan.[15] One competing plan called for the airport to be built in the Pender area of Fairfax County, while another called for the conversion of Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County, Maryland into an airport.[13]

The current site was selected by President Eisenhower in 1958;[15] the Dulles name was chosen by Eisenhower's aviation advisor Pete Quesada, who later served as the first head of the Federal Aviation Administration. As a result of the site selection, the unincorporated, largely African-American community of Willard, which once stood in the airport's current footprint, was demolished, and 87 property owners had their holdings condemned.[13]

Dulles was also built over a lesser known airport named Blue Ridge Airport, chartered in 1938 by the U.S.. The airport was Loudoun County's first official airport consisting of two grass intersecting runways in the shape of an "X". The location of the former Blue Ridge Airport sits where the Dulles Air Freight complex and Washington Dulles Airport Marriott now sit today.[16][better source needed]

Design and construction

Dulles Airport in 1970

The civil engineering firm Ammann and Whitney was named lead contractor. The airport was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy and Eisenhower on November 17, [17] As originally opened, the airport had three runways (current day runways 1C/19C, 1R/19L, and 12/30). Its original name, Dulles International Airport, was changed in 1984 to Washington Dulles International Airport.[18]

The main terminal was designed in 1958 by famed Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, and it is highly regarded for its graceful beauty, suggestive of flight. In the 1990s, the main terminal at Dulles was reconfigured to allow more space between the front of the building and the ticket counters. Additions at both ends of the main terminal more than doubled the structure's length. The original terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan was modeled after the Saarinen terminal at Dulles.

The design included a landscaped man-made lake to collect rainwater, a low-rise hotel, and a row of office buildings along the north side of the main parking lot. The design also included a two-level road in front of the terminal to separate arrival and departure traffic and a federally owned limited access highway connecting the terminal to the Capital Beltway (I-495) about 17 miles (27 km) to the east. (Eventually, the highway system grew to include a parallel toll road to handle commuter traffic and an extension to connect to I-66). The access road had a wide median strip to allow the construction of a passenger rail line, which will be in the form of an extension of the Washington Metro's Silver Line and is expected to be completed in 2020.

Notable operations and milestones

First Lady Pat Nixon ushered in the era of jumbo jets by christening the first Boeing 747 at Dulles, January 15, 1970

Planned development

Main Terminal Station of Aerotrain

By the 1980s the original design, featuring mobile lounges to meet each plane, was no longer well-suited to Dulles' role as a hub airport. Instead, midfield concourses were added to allow passengers to walk between connecting flights without visiting the main terminal. Mobile lounges were still used for international flights and to transport passengers between the midfield concourses and the main terminal. A tunnel (consisting of a passenger walkway and moving sidewalks) which links the main terminal and Concourse B was opened in 2004.[43] The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) began a renovation program for the airport including a new security mezzanine with more room for lines.[44]

A new train system, dubbed AeroTrain and developed by Mitsubishi, began in 2010 to transport passengers between the concourses and the main terminal.[45] The system, which uses rubber tires and travels along a fixed underground guideway,[45] is similar to the people mover systems at Singapore Changi Airport,[45]Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Denver International Airport. The train is intended to replace the mobile lounges, which many passengers found crowded and inconvenient. The initial phase includes the main terminal station, a permanent Concourse A station, a permanent Concourse B station, a permanent midfield concourse station (with access to the current temporary C concourse via a tunnel with moving walkways), and a maintenance facility.[45] Mobile lounges continue to service the D Concourse from both the main terminal and Concourse A. Even after AeroTrain is built out and the replacement Concourses C and D are built, the mobile lounges and plane mates will still continue to be used, to transport international arriving passengers to the International Arrivals Building, as well as transport passengers to aircraft parked on hardstands without direct access to jet bridges. Dulles has stated that the wait time for a train does not exceed four minutes, compared to the average 15-minute wait and travel time for mobile lounges.

Under the development plan, future phases would see the addition of several new midfield concourses and a new south terminal.[46] A fourth runway (parallel to the existing runways 1 and 19 L&R) opened in 2008,[47] and development plans include a fifth runway to parallel the existing runway 12-30.[48] If this runway is built, the current runway will be re-designated as 12L-30R while the new runway will be designated 12R-30L. An expansion of the B concourse, used by many low-cost airlines as well as international arrivals, has been completed, and the building housing Concourses C and D will eventually be knocked down to make room for a more ergonomic building. Because Concourses C and D are temporary concourses, the only way to get to those concourses is via moving walkway from the Concourse C station which is built in the location of the future gates and Concourse D by mobile lounge from the main terminal.[49]

In the short term, United Airlines is currently constructing a 20,000 square foot buildout on Concourse C between gate C18 and the AeroTrain entrance to provide space for a new Polaris Lounge for international passengers.[50]

Meaning of IAD

Dulles originally used airport code DIA, the initials of Dulles International Airport. When handwritten, it was often misread as DCA, the code for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, so in 1968 Dulles' code was changed to IAD.[51]


The airport's terminal complex consists of a main terminal (which includes four of the original gates, "Z" gates), and two parallel midfield terminal buildings: Concourses A/B and C/D. The entire terminal complex has 123 gates and 16 hardstand locations[52] from which passengers can board or disembark using the airport's plane mate vehicles.[6]

Inter-terminal transportation

Conceived in early planning sessions in 1959, Dulles is one of the few remaining airports to use the mobile lounge (also known as "plane mates" or "people movers") now only used for transport to the International Arrivals Building as well as transport for Concourse D. They have all been given names based on the postal abbreviations of 50 states, e.g., VA, MD, AK.[53]

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has gradually phased out the mobile lounge system for inter-terminal passenger movements in favor of the AeroTrain, an underground people mover which currently operates to all of the concourses except concourse D, with passenger tunnels remaining to concourses A and B. Plane mates remain in use to disembark international passengers and carry them to the International Arrivals Building, as well as to transport passengers to and from aircraft on the hard stands (i.e., those parked remotely on the apron without access to jet bridges).[54][55]

Main terminal

The terminal ceiling is suspended in a catenary curve above the luggage check-in area.

Dulles's iconic main terminal houses ticketing on the upper level, baggage claim and U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the lower level, and annexes for the International Arrivals Building (IAB) for international passenger processing, as well as the Z gates (used by Air Canada, Frontier and United Express), various information kiosks and other support facilities. The main terminal was recognized by the American Institute of Architects in 1966 for its design concept; its roof is a suspended catenary providing a wide enclosed area unimpeded by any columns.

The main terminal was extended in 1996 to 1,240 feet (380 m)--Saarinen's original design length--which was slightly more than double its originally constructed length of 600 feet (180 m).[52] On September 22, 2009, an expansion to include the 41,400 square feet (3,850 m2) International Arrivals Building (IAB) opened for customs and immigration processing with a capacity to process 2,400 passengers per hour.[56]

Also in September 2009, a 121,700 square feet (11,310 m2) central security checkpoint was added on a new security mezzanine level of the main terminal. This checkpoint replaced previous checkpoints which were located behind the ticketing areas,[57] however, travelers enrolled in TSA PreCheck and CLEAR still use this area to clear security.[58] A separate security checkpoint is available on the baggage claim level. Both security checkpoints connect to the AeroTrain, which links the main terminal with the A, B, and C concourses.

Main Terminal AeroTrain station

Midfield terminals

All airlines aside from Air Canada Express, Frontier Airlines, and United Express operate out of two linear satellite terminals which are Concourses A and B, and Concourses C and D.

Concourses A and B

All non-United flights operate out of these two concourses as well as some United Express flights. Concourse A (which has 47 gates) composes the eastern part of the closest midfield terminal building. It consists of a permanent ground level set of gates designed for small planes and regional jets used by United Express, and several former Concourse B gates.[59] The concourse is primarily used for international flights. Air France operates an airline lounge opposite gate A22, Etihad Airways operates a First and Business Class lounge across from gate A15, and Virgin Atlantic has a Clubhouse lounge across from gate A32. Concourse A's AeroTrain station is located about halfway through the concourse, between gates A6 and A14.

Concourse A & B during the night

Concourse B (which has 28 gates) composes the western half of the building. It is the first of the permanent elevated midfield concourses. Originally constructed in 1998 and designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, the B concourse contained 20 gates. In 2003, 4 additional gates were added to concourse B, followed by a 15-gate expansion in 2008.[60] In addition to the AeroTrain station located between gates B51 and B62, Concourse B also has an underground walkway to connect it to the main terminal. Concourse B is used by some international carriers, and is also utilized by all non-United domestic and Canada flights. The facility also includes a British Airways Galleries lounge, a Lufthansa lounge divided into Senator and Business class sections located between gates B49 and B51, and a Turkish Airlines Lounge near gate B43.[61]

Concourses C and D

The interior of Concourse C and D, where United Airlines's hub operation is based

Concourses C/D are solely used for United Airlines flights. All mainline United flights and most United Express regional jet operations operate out of these concourses (some United Express flights use Concourse A).

These concourses were constructed in 1983 and designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum. The two concourses have 22 gates each, numbered C1-C28 and D1-D32, with odd-numbered gates on the north side of the building and even numbered gates on the south side. Concourse C composes the eastern half of the terminal and Concourse D composes the gates on the west half of the terminal.[62][63] The C/D concourses were given a face lift in 2006 which included light fixture upgrades, new paint finishes, new ceiling grids and tiles, heating and air conditioning replacement, and complete restroom renovations.[63]

Concourse C also has a dedicated Federal Inspection Station located at ground level. International United flights not originating at an airport with US customs pre-clearance can directly deplane passengers via the jet bridge at Concourse C (as opposed to using plane mates to offload passengers). Once deplaned, arriving passengers are separated. Passengers terminating at Dulles take a mobile lounge that transports them to the International Arrivals Building, while connecting passengers continuing on another United flight go through U.S. Customs and Immigration at the FIS station on the ground level. Since this immigration facility is only for connecting passengers on United and other Star Alliance carriers, it has shorter lines and passengers don't have to re-clear security at the massive security checkpoints in the main terminal.

A new and permanent C/D concourse (also called "Tier 2") is planned as part of the D2 Dulles Development Project. The new building is to include a three-level structure with 44 airline gates and similar amenities to Concourse B.[63] The concourse plan includes a dedicated mezzanine corridor with moving sidewalks to serve international passengers. The design and construction of the new C/D concourse has not been scheduled.[63] When built, it is planned that both terminals will be connected to the main terminal and other concourses via the AeroTrain. To that extent, the AeroTrain station at Concourse C was built at the location where the future Concourse C/D structure is proposed to be built, and is connected to the existing Concourse C via an underground walkway.

Airline lounges

Air traffic control tower viewed through a skylight in the main terminal

Since many major domestic and international airlines have a large presence at Washington Dulles, there are numerous airline lounges within the airport:

  • Air France: Air France/KLM Lounge, A Concourse across from gate A22.[64]
  • British Airways: BA Lounge with Concorde Dining for first class passengers.[65]
  • Etihad Airways: First and Business class lounge located opposite gate A15.[66]
  • Lufthansa: Senator Lounge and Business Lounge, B Concourse at gate B51.[64]
  • Turkish Airlines: Concourse B, near gate B41.[61]
  • United Airlines: United Clubs in C Concourse (at gates C4 [the former Global First Class Lounge], C7 and C17), and one in D Concourse at gate D8.[67] As of June 2019, United has begun construction on their latest Polaris Lounge, located across from gate C17 next to the AeroTrain escalator, due to open early 2020.[68]
  • Virgin Atlantic: Clubhouse, A Concourse across from gate A32.[69]

Airlines and destinations


Aer Lingus Dublin [70]
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo [71]
Air Canada Express Montréal-Trudeau, Toronto-Pearson [72]
Air China Beijing-Capital [73]
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle [74]
Air India Delhi [75]
Alaska Airlines Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma [76]
Alitalia Rome-Fiumicino[77] [78]
All Nippon Airways Tokyo-Narita [79]
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles [80]
American Eagle Charlotte [80]
Austrian Airlines Vienna [81]
Aviancaa Bogotá, La Paz
Avianca El Salvador San Salvador [82]
British Airways London-Heathrow [83]
Brussels Airlines Brussels[84] [85]
Cabo Verde Airlines Sal (begins December 8, 2019)[86]
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong [87]
Copa Airlines Panama City [88]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Cancún
Delta Connection Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK [89]
EgyptAir Cairo[90][91]
Emirates Dubai-International [92]
Ethiopian Airlinesb Addis Ababa [93]
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi [94]
Frontier Airlines Austin, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando
Seasonal: Colorado Springs, San Antonio
Icelandair Reykjavík-Keflavík [96]
KLM Amsterdam [97]
Korean Air Seoul-Incheon [98]
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich [99]
Porter Airlines Toronto-Billy Bishop [100]
Qatar Airways Doha [101]
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca [102]
Saudia Jeddah, Riyadh
Hajj: Medina
Copenhagen [104]
Accra, Johannesburg-O. R. Tambo [105]
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Denver, Orlando [106]
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul [107]
Zurich (resumes March 29, 2020)[108] [109]
TAP Air Portugal Lisbon [110]
Turkish Airlines Istanbul [111]
United Airlines Amsterdam, Atlanta, Austin, Beijing-Capital, Boston, Brussels, Cancún, Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Columbus-Glenn, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers (begins October 26, 2019), Frankfurt, Geneva, Hartford, Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, Kansas City, Las Vegas, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Munich, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, Orlando, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Portland (OR), Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, Tel Aviv, Tokyo-Haneda (begins March 28, 2020),[112]Tokyo-Narita (ends March 27, 2020),[112]Zurich
Seasonal: Aruba, Barcelona, Charleston (SC), Cincinnati, Dublin, Eagle/Vail, Edinburgh, Grand Cayman, Guatemala City, Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Lisbon, Madrid, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montego Bay, Norfolk, Providenciales, Punta Cana, Rome-Fiumicino, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, San José de Costa Rica, San José del Cabo, Vancouver
United Express Akron/Canton (begins May 8, 2020),[114]Albany, Asheville, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Buffalo, Burlington (VT), Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Charlottesville (VA), Clarksburg (WV), Chattanooga (ends December 3, 2019),[115]Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbia (SC), Columbus-Glenn, Dallas/Fort Worth, Dayton, Detroit, Elmira, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Greenville/Spartanburg, Harrisburg, Hartford, Houston-Intercontinental, Huntsville, Indianapolis, Ithaca, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Knoxville, Lewisburg (WV), Lexington (KY), Louisville, Manchester (NH), Minneapolis/St. Paul, Montréal-Trudeau, Nashville, New Orleans, New York-LaGuardia, Newark, Norfolk, Ogdensburg, Oklahoma City, Ottawa, Philadelphia (resumes May 8, 2020),[116]Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Portland (ME), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Roanoke, Rochester (NY), St. Louis, San Antonio, Sarasota (begins October 27, 2019),[117]Savannah, Shenandoah Valley, State College (PA), Syracuse, Toronto-Pearson, West Palm Beach (begins February 13, 2020),[118]Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Wilmington (NC)
Seasonal: Hilton Head, Nassau, Traverse City
Virgin Atlantic London-Heathrow [119]
Volaris Costa Rica San Salvador, San José de Costa Rica [120]


  • ^a : Avianca's flight to La Paz makes a stop at Bogotá.
  • ^b : Because of Addis Ababa's high altitude, Ethiopian Airlines' flight from Addis Ababa to Dulles stops at Dublin for re-fueling ,[121] but the flight from Dulles to Addis Ababa is nonstop.



Along with Newark Liberty International Airport, Washington Dulles is one of United Airlines' two East Coast hubs, with many nonstop flights to Europe, Asia, and South America. United considers Dulles as its "secondary European gateway". As of June 2015, United handled 61.1% of scheduled air carrier passengers at the airport.[122]American Airlines has a 4.8% market share.[122]Delta Air Lines handles 4.1% of scheduled air carrier passengers.[122] In addition, 33 foreign carriers have service in and out of Washington Dulles.[123]

On a typical day, Washington Dulles averages 1,000 to 1,200 flight operations.[124] Washington Dulles served 24 million passengers in 2018, a 5.1% increase over 2018. However, international passenger traffic has increased by 3.1% to nearly 8 million during the same time.[125] With 45 weekly flights, Washington Dulles is now the third-largest United States gateway to the Middle East. Even before the United States economic recession started, international passengers have continued to grow, which prompted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to expand the International Arrivals Building to handle 2,400 passengers per hour.

Since its opening in November 1962 through the end of 2018, over 646.2 million passengers have flown in and out of Washington Dulles. This includes U.S. and international military passengers from 1962-1988. This is an average of over 11.5 million passengers annually. There have been over 14.9 million aircraft operations since IAD opened, an average of over 266,000 operations annually.

Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes to and from IAD
(April 2018 - March 2019)
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 California Los Angeles, California 561,710 Alaska, American, United
2 Colorado Denver, Colorado 520,480 Frontier, Southwest, United
3 California San Francisco, California 507,970 Alaska, United
4 Georgia (U.S. state) Atlanta, Georgia 428,310 Delta, Southwest, United
5 Florida Orlando, Florida 303,510 Frontier, Southwest, United
6 Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts 248,840 JetBlue, United
7 Texas Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 246,190 American, United
8 North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina 237,040 American, United
9 Illinois Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois 234,240 United
10 Washington (state) Seattle/Tacoma, Washington 229,100 Alaska, Delta, United
Busiest International Routes to and from IAD (2017)[127]
Rank Airport Passengers Annual Change Carriers
1 London-Heathrow 826,590 Decrease00.1% British Airways, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic
2 Frankfurt 602,297 Increase02.3% Lufthansa, United Airlines
3 Paris-Charles de Gaulle 459,422 Increase07.3% Air France, United Airlines
4 Amsterdam 299,535 Increase013.5% KLM, United Airlines
5 Tokyo-Narita 288,382 Increase01.1% All Nippon Airways, United Airlines
6 Munich 274,100 Increase05.8% Lufthansa, United Airlines
7 Beijing-Capital 266,773 Increase012.7% Air China, United Airlines
8 Dubai-International 253,583 Decrease07.7% Emirates
9 Toronto-Pearson 243,775 Increase012.1% Air Canada Express, United Airlines
10 San Salvador 227,164 Increase06.4% Avianca El Salvador
11 Brussels 224,947 Increase08.9% Brussels Airlines, United Airlines
12 Panama City 210,764 Increase010.6% Copa Airlines
13 Addis Ababa 202,187 Increase037.1% Ethiopian Airlines
14 Doha 192,901 Decrease09.0% Qatar Airways
15 Cancún 189,843 Decrease08.5% Delta Air Lines, United Airlines
16 Dublin 176,502 Increase016.0% Aer Lingus, United Airlines
17 Istanbul-Atatürk 176,398 00.0% Turkish Airlines
18 Reykjavík-Keflavík 167,687 Increase025.8% Icelandair
19 Seoul-Incheon 163,888 Increase09.3% Korean Air
20 Mexico City 146,564 Decrease03.4% Aeroméxico, United Airlines
Airline market share
Largest Airlines at IAD
(April 2019)[128]
Rank Airline Passengers
1 United Airlines 1,353,109
2 Delta Air Lines 100,368
3 American Airlines 67,179
4 Lufthansa 38,704
5 Southwest Airlines 38,317
6 Alaska Airlines 37,473
7 Avianca 30,993
8 Air France 27,858
9 British Airways 26,012
10 Emirates 21,012

Annual traffic

Traffic by calendar year[7][129][130]
Year Passengers Change from
previous year
Aircraft operations Cargo
1999 19,797,329 465,195 395,981
2000 20,104,693 Increase1.55% 456,436 423,197
2001 18,002,319 Decrease10.46% 396,886 364,833
2002 17,235,163 Decrease4.26% 372,636 358,171
2003 16,950,381 Decrease1.65% 335,397 314,601
2004 22,868,852 Increase34.92% 469,634 342,521
2005 27,052,118 Increase18.29% 509,652 334,071
2006 23,020,362 Decrease14.90% 379,571 386,785
2007 24,737,528 Increase7.46% 382,943 395,377
2008 23,876,780 Decrease3.48% 360,292 368,064
2009 23,213,341 Decrease2.78% 340,367 358,535
2010 23,741,603 Increase2.28% 336,531 366,333
2011 23,211,856 Decrease2.22% 327,493 333,683
2012 22,561,521 Decrease2.80% 312,070 302,766
2013 21,947,065 Decrease2.70% 307,801 253,361
2014 21,572,233 Decrease1.70% 289,306 267,753
2015 21,650,546 Increase0.40% 268,619 262,158
2016 21,969,094 Increase1.50% 265,025 266,081
2017 22,892,504 Increase4.20% 264,575 298,683
2018 24,060,709 Increase5.10% 274,281 300,936

Ground transportation


Washington Dulles is accessible via the Dulles Access Road/Dulles Greenway (State Route 267) and State Route 28. The Dulles Airport Access Highway (DAAH) is a toll-free, limited access, highway owned by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to facilitate car access to Washington Dulles from the Washington Capital Beltway and Interstate 66.[131] After it opened, non-airport traffic between Washington and Reston became so heavy that a parallel set of toll lanes were added on the same right-of-way to accommodate non-airport traffic (Dulles Toll Road). However, the airport-only lanes are both less congested as well as toll-free. As of November 1, 2008, MWAA assumed responsibility from the Virginia Department of Transportation both for operating the Dulles Toll Road and for the construction of a rapid transit rail line down its median. Route 28, which runs north-south along the eastern edge of the airport, has been upgraded to a limited access highway, with the interchanges financed through a property tax surcharge on nearby business properties. The Dulles Toll Road has been extended to the west to Leesburg as the Dulles Greenway.

Public transportation

Fairfax Connector bus routes 981 and 983 serve Washington Dulles, connecting to the Herndon-Monroe park & ride lot in Herndon, the Reston Town Center transit in Reston, the Wiehle - Reston East Metro station, and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Air and Space Museum.

The "Express" 5A Metrobus route also operates service to the airport. The bus stops at the Herndon-Monroe park & ride lot in Herndon and the Rosslyn Metro station in Arlington and terminates at the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station in Southwest DC. Rosslyn can be accessed by the Orange, Blue, and Silver lines, while L'Enfant Plaza is also served by the Yellow and Green lines.

Washington Flyer's Silver Line Express bus service operates roughly every 15-20 minutes between the airport and the Wiehle - Reston East Metro station.[132] This service will be permanently discontinued when Phase II of the Silver Line commences operation on July 16, 2020.[133]

Passengers connecting to the Shenandoah Valley can use the Shenandoah Valley Commuter Bus, which connects to the Vienna and Rosslyn Metro stations. Washington Flyer has a monopoly to operate cabs from Washington Dulles Airport.[134] SuperShuttle ride sharing vans are also available. Uber and Lyft are popular modes are transport to and from the airport and MWAA receives a $4 fee per trip, which is included in the quoted fare.[135]

Construction is underway to connect the airport to Washington, D.C. via the Silver Line of the Washington Metro.[136] While initial plans called for completion of the station in 2016, officials now expect the service to begin operation on July 16, 2020.[137]

Accidents and incidents

Control Tower view of IAD in 1961.
  • There were three deaths during a nine-day air show held at Washington Dulles in conjunction with Transpo '72 (officially called the U.S. International Transportation Exposition, a $10 million event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and attended by over one million visitors from around the world).
    • On May 29, 1972, the third day of the show, the pilot of a Kite Rider (a variety of hang glider) was killed in a crash. This was to be the first of the three air deaths during the Air Show.[138][139]
    • On June 3, 1972, a second death occurred at the Transpo '72 Air Show, during a sport plane pylon race. At 2:40 pm, during the second lap and near a turn about pylon 3, a trailing aircraft's (LOWERS R-1 N66AN) wing and propeller hit the right wing tip of a leading aircraft (CASSUTT BARTH N7017). The right wing immediately sheared off the fuselage, and the damaged aircraft crashed almost instantly, killing the 29-year-old pilot, Hugh C. Alexander. He was a professional Air Racer with over 10,200 hours.[140][141]
    • On June 4, 1972, during the last day of the 9-day Transpo '72 Air Show, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds experienced their first fatal crash at an air show. Major Joe Howard flying Thunderbird 3 was killed when his F-4E-32-MC Phantom II, 66-0321, lost power during a vertical maneuver. The pilot broke out of formation just after he completed a wedge roll and was ascending at around 2,500 feet AGL. The aircraft staggered and descended in a flat attitude with little forward speed. Although Major Howard ejected as the aircraft fell back to earth from about 1,500 feet (460 m) tail first, and descended under a good canopy, winds blew him into the fireball ascending from the blazing crash site. The parachute melted and the pilot plummeted 200 feet, sustaining fatal injuries.[142]
  • On December 1, 1974, while diverting to Washington Dulles, TWA Flight 514 crashed onto the western slope of Mount Weather.[143] All 85 passengers and 7 crew members were killed on impact.
  • Air France Concorde incidents of 1979:
    • On June 14, 1979, the number 5 and 6 tires on an Air France Concorde blew out during takeoff. Shrapnel thrown from the tires and rims damaged number 2 engine, punctured three fuel tanks, severed several hydraulic lines and electrical wires, in addition to tearing a large hole on the top of the wing, over the wheel well area.[144]
    • On July 21, 1979, one month after the above tire incident, another Air France Concorde blew several of its landing gear tires during takeoff. After that second incident the "French director general of civil aviation issued an air worthiness directive and Air France issued a Technical Information Update, each calling for revised procedures. These included required inspection of each wheel/tire for condition, pressure and temperature prior to each take-off. In addition, crews were advised that landing gear should not be raised when a wheel/tire problem is suspected."[144]
  • On July 20, 1988, a Fairways Corp. de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter stalled and crashed after takeoff, the sole occupant, the pilot was killed.[145]
  • On June 18, 1994, a Learjet 25 operated by Mexican carrier TAESA crashed in trees while approaching the airport from the south. Twelve people died.[146] The passengers were planning to attend the 1994 FIFA World Cup soccer games being staged in Washington, D.C.
  • As part of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked while en route from Washington Dulles to Los Angeles and flown directly into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, killing all 64 on board as well as 125 in The Pentagon.[147]


See also


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