The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (Airports Authority) is preparing the Washington Dulles International Airport (Dulles or the Airport) Master Plan, which will help plan and guide the Airport’s needs over the next twenty-five years. The work is being done in partnership with independent consultants and the airport community and stakeholders.

What is an airport master plan?

An airport master plan is a comprehensive study of an airport, describing the short-, medium-, and long-term needs to meet the future of aviation. It provides a flexible framework to guide airport improvements, while considering potential environmental and economic impacts and benefits.

The process is guided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and results in projections of future passenger and aviation activity growth. The end result is an airport master plan report and an airport layout plan, the latter of which is a graphic depiction of how the airport will change and evolve in the future.

Why conduct an airport master plan?

The previous Master Plan for Dulles was completed in 1985 and most of its recommendations have now been implemented, including:

  • Construction of a fourth runway (Runway 1L-19R)
  • various terminal enhancements 
  • the AeroTrain system 
  • expanded automobile parking facilities 
  • aircraft storage and maintenance hangars
  • air freight warehouses.

Much has changed in the past 36 years, especially in the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Therefore. it is imperative that the Airports Authority have a comprehensive plan to define the future of the Airport, while ensuring that it continues to meet the evolving aeronautical needs of the National Capital Region and remains a driving economic force.  

Other reasons include:

  • Changes to airline business models require the evaluation of an updated long-term plan
  • IAD’s demand levels and operational characteristics have evolved
  • Passenger expectations have evolved since the last Master Plan was prepared
  • Align airport’s growth and improvement goals with airline business models
  • Opportunity to improve level of service and amenities
  • Need to “right-size” facilities to meet current and future demand
  • Identify additional non-airline revenue opportunities

Master Plan Process

IAD Master Plan

Master Plan Timeline

IAD Master Plan Timeline


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