Dulles becomes fastest-growing international gateway in the U.S.

As a busy summer season ends, data through July show strong passenger growth over 2022 levels at Dulles International and Reagan National airports so far in 2023. The numbers were boosted by new and incumbent airlines adding non-stop flights at Dulles, as well as strong travel demand at both airports. With 2,328 more scheduled international flights in 2023 than in 2019, Dulles became the fastest-growing international gateway airport in the United States. As airport activity increased, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority introduced several enhancements for travelers. 

“With nearly 40 airlines to choose from, it was a great summer at the Airports Authority as customers from around the world used our airports to reach more destinations than ever before,” said Chryssa Westerlund, the Authority’s executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “Travelers who passed through our airports also enjoyed a wide variety of great new concessions and amenities. Even more are on the way.”

Passenger Growth

Data from January through July show Dulles passenger activity growth approaching 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Reagan passenger activity in the same timeframe was at or above 2022 levels – which exceeded pre-pandemic numbers. The full report is available here.

•    International passenger growth led the way at Dulles with a 30.5 percent increase year-to-date in 2023 versus 2022.
•    At Reagan National, passenger levels grew 9.4 percent so far in 2023 versus 2022. In summer, passenger traffic leveled off as a result of airline capacity reductions to New York City, imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration to accommodate Air Traffic Control staff shortages, as well as fewer late-night flights at DCA while an important runway rehabilitation project moved forward.

New Flights and New Destinations

Four new airlines launched nonstop flights in 2023 from Dulles International Airport, including PlayNorse Atlantic AirwaysITA and WestJet. New nonstop destinations from Dulles include Berlin, Vancouver, London Gatwick, Calgary and Barbados. Service to existing cities increased with new service on Play airlines to Reykjavik, ITA Airways to Rome, United Airlines to Calgary and Alaska Airlines to San Diego. With its multiple route launches, Dulles became the fastest-growing U.S. airport for international flight activity. In addition, American diversified its regional destinations from Reagan National by starting service to Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Madison, Wisconsin; on the same date in June.

Looking ahead, Kuwait Airways has announced new nonstop service to Kuwait City, beginning on December 6, 2023, and Swiss International Air Lines has announced new nonstop flights to Zurich, beginning on April 1, 2024.

New Concessions

A multi-year, multi-phased concessions redevelopment program is making major progress at both airports. Nine new concessions at DCA and 13 new concessions at IAD are under construction. Recently opened stores introduced more automation, such as frictionless payments and a robotic nail-painting station, to the shopping experience.

Latest openings:

•    Dulles International: Rusty Taco (D-gates) and Hudson Nonstop (A-Gates)
•    Reagan National: P.F. Chang’s (E-gates), iStore (National Hall), The Goods@DCA (corner of National Hall and Concourse D) and Vino Volo (National Hall).

New Amenities

Valet parking returned to Dulles International in April. Customers can make a reservation in advance or simply follow signs to drop off their vehicles along the Departures curb.

Sunflower lanyards debuted in July at Reagan National and Dulles International. Under this internationally recognized program, passengers with hidden disabilities can receive assistance discreetly from airport staff.

Capital One Lounge opened September 7 at Dulles International. The lounge has healthy grab-and-go options, locally sourced small bites, a specialty coffee bar and a full-service bar, as well as a suite of premium amenities and seating, ample workspaces, children’s play area and a parent room.

Live security wait times are now available for all screening checkpoints at Reagan National. A system that calculates a wait-time range based on the flow of passengers in the queue was activated in mid-September. The wait times are posted on signs near each checkpoint, online and on the DC Airports mobile app. 

Book Parking in Advance for Fall/Winter Travel

Customers booking trips this fall and winter are reminded to reserve parking early at flyreagan.com and flydulles.com to guarantee a spot - especially with holiday travel just around the corner.

About the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority                                     

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority operates the U.S. Capital Region’s gateways to the nation and the world, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road. The Authority also managed construction of the Silver Line, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail public transit system through northern Virginia, which began service to Dulles International in 2022.