Skip to content

Proposal would mean new regional gates at Dulles Airport, but the 'mobile lounges' would stay

April 09, 2022
4 min read
Entrance to Washington Dulles Airport at sunrise
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

There could be good news on the horizon for passengers at Dulles International Airport (IAD). A new proposal announced by the airport’s governing body this week could eventually mean the end of the Concourse A gates that serve regional flights, which currently require travelers to walk outside when boarding and deplaning.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which runs both Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), announced Thursday that it’s seeking federal help to build a new, 14-gate concourse at Dulles. The new facility would replace the existing, regional jet section of Concourse A.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

If this proposal moves forward, it would mean much more modern facilities for travelers passing through Dulles, which in addition to serving the Washington, D.C. region, serves a large number of connecting passengers, since the airport is a major hub for United Airlines.

This project would not spell the end of the airport’s concourses C and D, where United operates gates, a replacement for which has long been at the center of discussion.

A mobile lounge passes the iconic old control tower at Dulles International Airport on Aug. 7, 2019. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

The proposal by MWAA follows the 2021 opening of a new concourse at DCA, which meant the end of Gate 35X, where passengers previously had to ride a shuttle from the terminal to their aircraft.

Related: Frontier wants to ditch jet bridges in Denver

The proposal

The proposal announced Thursday by MWAA involves a “modern” concourse with 14 new gates, along with shops, restaurants and other customer services. This 400,000-square-foot facility would replace the existing 100,000-square-foot eastern section of the A concourse which was built in the 1990s. Currently, regional jet passengers accessing aircraft in that concourse must walk outdoors under covered walkways to get to and from the plane.

According to a map MWAA sent to TPG, when standing in the main terminal at Dulles, the new proposed concourse would be located beyond the existing C and D concourses where United operates its hub.

(Image courtesy of Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority)

Airport officials say the new gates would be accessible both by the AeroTrain and the airport’s “mobile lounges,” or people movers.

The project is expected to cost between $500 million and $800 million, but MWAA is seeking $230 million in funding through the recent infrastructure bill passed by Congress.

“This new concourse would represent a major improvement in the passenger experience at the regional gates,” Airports Authority president and CEO Jack Potter said in a statement Thursday. As part of the same statement, United Airlines said it “strongly” encourages the Federal Aviation Administration to sign off on the funding, which MWAA says will help facilitate this project.

Since the proposal has not yet been approved, it’s not clear when construction on the new facility might start, or end.

Bigger improvement plans in the works

While this would represent a major upgrade for passengers at Dulles, it’s important to note that this proposal would not serve as a replacement for concourses C or D, which have been the subject of discussion between airport officials and United Airlines for decades.

Potter acknowledged the need for future improvements at Dulles as part of his statement announcing the new regional gates, calling this proposal a “first step in a long-term strategy” seeking to upgrade facilities at Dulles.

MWAA told TPG this week that “talks continue with United on proposals to replace the C/D concourse.”

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases