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What Is The Future Of DCA?  
User currently offlineKDCA From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 132 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6181 times:

DCA is probably one of the coolest airports around in the United States.

I was just wondering if anybody in the know, knows anything about the future of DCA. Specifically what is being done with the historic main terminal and what is the future of the A concourse.

Also what about an airside bus between the US terminals for connections?

It seems that ops there have been utilizing 33/21 and 4/22 a lot more for arrivals and some RJ departures.

Lastly, what is the future of slot/perimeter rules because there are times the airport does not seem to be at capacity, but at the busy hours arrivals are stacked up. Obviously widebodies are a no go because the airport will never be expanded.

What do you guys think is the future of this aviation treasure?

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26414 posts, RR: 76
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6171 times:

Quoting KDCA (Thread starter):
Also what about an airside bus between the US terminals for connections?

Actually, I rode on an airside shuttle between the US terminals on Friday morning.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineUmhlanga From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 128 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6163 times:

Although IAD now handles more pax, DCA is still in high demand, particularly given its slot restrictions. Fares ex-DCA are almost always higher than those ex-IAD and ex-BWI, and the airport tends to attract a better crowd (fewer riff raff in ill-fitting jeans and stupid tourist t-shirts) than either IAD or BWI. So the future is bright. Regarding specific plans for physical improvement of the facilities, I have not noticed anything in the papers (I live in DC) or on the airport authority's website.

The airside bus is a nice addition. I would also love to see a moving sidewalk from the main terminal over to terminal A. Although it's good exercise, the walk from the Metrorail station to terminal A can be a killer, and sometimes shuttle buses are nowhere to be found. Sad


User currently offlineB777A340Fan From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 773 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6147 times:

Quoting Umhlanga (Reply 2):
Although IAD now handles more pax, DCA is still in high demand, particularly given its slot restrictions

Well, if you exclude international passengers, domestic flights ex-DCA are as abundant as BWI, maybe IAD. IAD is a hub of UAL so it's a little unfair to compare. But IAD and BWI are both international airports, thus get more passenger traffic.

I know there were concerned about DCA post 9/11 since it is so close to the White House/Capitol Hill.

I also know that DCA has the benefit of being the only airport in the area accessible by metro. That characteristic is very beneficial for the airport as passengers can easily get in/out of the city/suburbs more easily. But Washington/Metro authorities recently approved an extension to the metro line serving IAD.

Interesting to see how that all plays out in the end.


User currently offlineKDCA From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 6114 times:

N1120A

Interesting to hear about the airside bus. That was something my uncle, a US 737 captain had complained about because of the number of misconnects they would have at DCA.

It seems like DCA could better utilize the apron space in front of the historic terminal given the large numbers of aircraft that RON behind terminal A by the general aviation hangars.

Is there anyone on here who knows much about DCA ops?


User currently offlineSimairlinenet From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 912 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 6089 times:

I work for MWAA at DCA, so I can answer some of these questions.

Quoting KDCA (Thread starter):
I was just wondering if anybody in the know, knows anything about the future of DCA. Specifically what is being done with the historic main terminal and what is the future of the A concourse.

The old terminal is designated as a landmark, so it's staying. The A Concourse is certainly needed, as gate space is a premium. There have been/were some thoughts about adding two additional piers at the north end of the airport, but US Airways' hangar and Commuter World prevent that at the moment. The upper levels of the old terminal are mostly offices, but there's room for more if wanted. Some considerations of a restaurant if we ever put gates back in that area.

Quoting KDCA (Thread starter):
Also what about an airside bus between the US terminals for connections?

I believe US Airways actually does this when there are very tight connections between concourses. Keep in mind that most of US Airways' traffic at DCA is O&D, and they only have three gates in the center pier. The difficulty is that it means people have to go through the jetways, as opposed to the bus area at the north pier.

Quoting KDCA (Thread starter):
It seems that ops there have been utilizing 33/21 and 4/22 a lot more for arrivals and some RJ departures.

33 is preferred by US Airways Express for landing because it's a faster arrival to their ramp area. Other RJs (as large as the RJ85) use 33 so as to allow more arrivals. The approach is the same as to 1 for most of the way. 33 is very rarely used for departures. Most of the arrivals I've seen on 15 are Colgan Air's (US Airways Express Saab 340) arrivals.

22 is not used very often for anything, although 4 often gets US Airways Shuttle departures.

Quoting KDCA (Thread starter):
Lastly, what is the future of slot/perimeter rules because there are times the airport does not seem to be at capacity, but at the busy hours arrivals are stacked up. Obviously widebodies are a no go because the airport will never be expanded.

It's here to stay until Congress decides to change the rules. Widebodies are technically feasible (six gates), but of course not economical.

Quoting Umhlanga (Reply 2):
I would also love to see a moving sidewalk from the main terminal over to terminal A.

A dream I woke up to one night!

Quoting B777A340Fan (Reply 3):

I know there were concerned about DCA post 9/11 since it is so close to the White House/Capitol Hill.

This is part of why DHS has a Citation and three Blackhawks stationed here.


User currently offlineGoodmanr From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 297 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6004 times:

Quoting B777A340Fan (Reply 3):
I also know that DCA has the benefit of being the only airport in the area accessible by metro

It's also the only airport easily accessable by car unless you live far out in the suburbs. During rush hour getting to the Dulles Toll Road is pretty painful and BWI is a nightmare on 95. Dulles is really really far out there.



USAirways - Chairmans Gold
User currently offlineCBERFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5917 times:

Quoting Simairlinenet (Reply 5):
Widebodies are technically feasible (six gates), but of course not economical.

Why aren't widebodies economical at DCA? Does it have to do with physical limitations of the airport, i.e. runway length or gate spacing, or lack of passenger demand? I've certainly been on a few packed-to-the gills 757 flights at DCA, where a larger aircraft may have been a viable option.

Quoting KDCA (Thread starter):
DCA is probably one of the coolest airports around in the United States.

Amen to that one!  Smile


User currently offlineApodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4255 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5899 times:

Quoting CBERFlyer (Reply 7):
Why aren't widebodies economical at DCA? Does it have to do with physical limitations of the airport, i.e. runway length

Bingo. The longest runway in DCA is only 6,800 ft long, and also remember there are special procedures in the airport due to P56 being 1 1/2 miles north of the field. This is going to severly weight restrict a widebody, which would presumably not have the maneveurability at slow speeds to comply with restrictions in either direction.


User currently offlineB777A340Fan From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 773 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5738 times:

Quoting Goodmanr (Reply 6):
It's also the only airport easily accessable by car unless you live far out in the suburbs. During rush hour getting to the Dulles Toll Road is pretty painful and BWI is a nightmare on 95. Dulles is really really far out there.

Hmm, it depends where you live really. The Dulles Toll Road has designated lanes to reach IAD. DCA, on the other hand, is only accessible via the GW Pkwy or I-66. Both of those routes have a LOT more traffic than the Dulles Toll road, especially during rush hours. IAD is only 30 mins. away from DCA, I wouldn't classify that as being "really really far out there".


User currently offlineIcelandairMSP From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 123 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5704 times:

There's a reason most larger airlines (excluding UA) send their big aircraft more frequently to DCA than to IAD, it's just so darn convenient. After all the talk of DCA being dangerous after 9/11, I think it's pretty clear the airport isn't going anywhere. However, there just isn't any place to make a big expansion. Most of the Potomac is protected and some of Arlington's densest developments and major roads border the airport. The airport would really have to work wonders to stretch the efficiency of the terminals and crossing runways more than they already have. Thus, though little possibilities exist here and there, the future of DCA comes down to how much people are willing to pay to fly straight into DCA versus flying into Baltimore (not a bad option, really) or the outskirts of the "DC Metropolitan Area" (IAD is almost 30 miles from DCA connected only by a notoriously congested toll road that leads into DC's traffic). Eventually demand will outstripe the ability of DCA to provide flights and so it'll only hit capacity, and then sit still until a possibility for expansion arises.

Even so, expansion of DCA is not a popular topic for anyone in the DC area. Even with an approach path down the Potomac, noise pollution is always an issue and expanding the airport would only make it more so. Allowing widebodies to fly in, again, would increase noise pollution. The airport is a safety concern and, really, just would be such a mind-boggling problem to figure out a way to expand besides trivial additions, its hard to see the city putting money into it. But you never know (BOS, case in point).

The best option available is to get a nice express metroline out to Dulles. Paris does it to CDG. Munich does it to MUC. Madrid now does it to MAD. That would significantly increase the appeal and efficiency of IAD which is a fine airport with plenty of room to expand and a large international traffic presence. Same goes for BWI. It's an expensive project for sure, but in an era when transit oriented development is increasing rapidly, an express suburban metro line would likely attract positive development, not simply more "garage mahals" as the outer suburbs seem to be rife with.

To sum up, DCA will reach capacity and can't do much about expansion without jumping through several million dollar hoops, even though they just might. Should do what many large cities do and create an express metro line to IAD.


User currently offlineGoodmanr From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 297 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5695 times:

Quoting B777A340Fan (Reply 9):
Hmm, it depends where you live really. The Dulles Toll Road has designated lanes to reach IAD. DCA, on the other hand, is only accessible via the GW Pkwy or I-66. Both of those routes have a LOT more traffic than the Dulles Toll road, especially during rush hours. IAD is only 30 mins. away from DCA, I wouldn't classify that as being "really really far out there".

Once you're on the toll road it's fine, but getting to the toll road is not easy unless you live right on it. You ahve to take the beltway which is way worse than GW Parkway. To get to DCA you can also take RT1. The GW parkway around DCA almost never has traffic. The bridges get backed up, but nothing is worse than waiting in the shoulder on the outer loop of the beltway to turn onto the toll road in the afternoon.



USAirways - Chairmans Gold
User currently offlineDesh From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 232 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5678 times:

Quoting KDCA (Thread starter):
Obviously widebodies are a no go because the airport will never be expanded.

Now there is an idea - Imagine combining Kai Tak and SXM (sort of) into one airport - how cool would that be ?? I am moving to Rosslyn is that happens ....

As far as expansion is concerned cant they expand on the Alexandria side ? I mean there have been artificial islands created to accomodate whole airports so why not create one on the potomac ?

I guess till the time congressmen , senators and the lobbyists have their little private planes DCA would still be around right ??? or do they prefer landing @ other airports ? Cant imagine how that conversation would be "Honey, Can I take your learjet to office today - I am running a bit late will need the speed !"



"History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again." - Kurt Vonnegut
User currently offlineHanginOut From Austria, joined May 2005, 550 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5678 times:

Quoting B777A340Fan (Reply 3):
Well, if you exclude international passengers, domestic flights ex-DCA are as abundant as BWI, maybe IAD.

Speaking of international passengers to Washington DC (which is what I happen to be), I wish that the Ottawa-Washington flights were from/to DCA, instead of IAD. Considering it is mainly government types flying back and forth, wouldn't it be better for everyone (especially me) if the Ottawa flights were allowed to operate from DCA, instead of IAD?  idea  After all, we're only talking about 3 flights a day!



Dreaming of the day I can work for an airline
User currently offlineCBERFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5654 times:

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Reply 10):
To sum up, DCA will reach capacity and can't do much about expansion without jumping through several million dollar hoops, even though they just might. Should do what many large cities do and create an express metro line to IAD.

The Metro line to IAD is on its way, if federal or VA legislative hurdles don't get in the way. MWAA has recently signed a MOU with the Commonwealth of Virginia to take over management and construction of the new "Silver Line" extension of Washington's Metrorail system to IAD (and beyond), to be completed by 2015:

http://www.mwaa.com/dulles/about_dul...rnational/dulles_corridor_proposal

There's actually been talk about a long-term (over 20 years from now) extension of Metro's Green Line to Fort Meade, MD (home of the National Security Agency and other related organizations) and beyond to BWI. The military is eventually relocating over 25,000 jobs to Fort Meade from DC, the Pentagon, and the close-in burbs, and the State of Maryland is already starting planning on developing transit options for all those commuters:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/tra...2.story?coll=bal-traffic-headlines
http://www.journalism.umd.edu/cns/wi...riday/MetroExtension_CNS-UMCP.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...le/2006/04/05/AR2006040501146.html


User currently offlineCBERFlyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5642 times:

Quoting HanginOut (Reply 13):
Speaking of international passengers to Washington DC (which is what I happen to be), I wish that the Ottawa-Washington flights were from/to DCA, instead of IAD. Considering it is mainly government types flying back and forth, wouldn't it be better for everyone (especially me) if the Ottawa flights were allowed to operate from DCA, instead of IAD? After all, we're only talking about 3 flights a day!

Does Ottawa have customs pre-clearance facilities for entry into the U.S.? Remember, DCA does not have customs facilities of its own for international arrivals.

If Ottawa does have such facilities, I'm very surprised there aren't direct flights. There are already non-stop AC flights to DCA from YYZ and YUL.

My agency occasionally has travelers to Ottawa for interactions with Health Canada... flights out of DCA would certainly be appreciated if they were possible.


User currently offlineHanginOut From Austria, joined May 2005, 550 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5574 times:

Quoting CBERFlyer (Reply 15):
Does Ottawa have customs pre-clearance facilities for entry into the U.S.?

Yes it does. All flights to the US are pre-cleared in Ottawa, flights to Ottawa from US destinations are cleared upon arrival in Ottawa.

Quoting CBERFlyer (Reply 15):
My agency occasionally has travelers to Ottawa for interactions with Health Canada... flights out of DCA would certainly be appreciated if they were possible.

I couldn't agree with you more as we have people from my Department flying to DC every day.



Dreaming of the day I can work for an airline
User currently offlineDCAYOW From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 600 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5555 times:

Quoting HanginOut (Reply 13):
I wish that the Ottawa-Washington flights were from/to DCA

I KNOW!!! AC used to operate DCA-YOW but they ceased it around 9/11. Those flights were so convenient: capital to capital.



Retorne ao céu...
User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5492 times:

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Reply 10):
(IAD is almost 30 miles from DCA connected only by a notoriously congested toll road that leads into DC's traffic).

If I had a dollar for every time I've seen this inaccuracy.....

The Dulles Toll Road is SEPARATE from the the Dulles access road. The access road is inside the toll road and is TOLL FREE and congestion free. The only part of the drive from DCA to IAD that can be congested is I-66 between the GW Parkway and the Dulles access road - and that is only between 3-6 pm outbound.

I drive from my office in downtown DC to Dulles frequently, and it is almost always an easy drive.


User currently offlineGoodmanr From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 297 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5407 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 18):

I drive from my office in downtown DC to Dulles frequently, and it is almost always an easy drive.

I drive from home in NW DC (Spring Valley) to IAD every week or so and it's never an easy drive. Once I'm on the access road it's fine, but it's still far. But getting to the access road is never easy via 495



USAirways - Chairmans Gold
User currently offlinePetmbro From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 260 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5390 times:

Quoting Goodmanr (Reply 19):
...But getting to the access road is never easy via 495

Is anything via 495 ever easy? Wink I love DCA. Most all of my travel on US grants me the opportunity for a layover at DCA, which I enjoy so much. IAD is a pain in the neck. The only time I ever used IAD was on UA doing IAD-LAX, and I would never do that again. The airport was under some construction (August 1999) and the drive wasn't very fun. Yeah some of you might say it's not bad but this is DC we're talking about, traffic is always bad. DCA is so much more convenient and most of the DC metro area can be reached via Metro or local rail.



"don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!" - Judge Judy
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 21, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5382 times:

Quoting KDCA (Thread starter):
Also what about an airside bus between the US terminals for connections?

There definitely is one.

Quoting IcelandairMSP (Reply 10):

Even so, expansion of DCA is not a popular topic for anyone in the DC area.

It is with me. I live in Adams Morgan, and driving to either IAD or BWI is not something I look forward to

Quoting HanginOut (Reply 13):
if the Ottawa flights were allowed to operate from DCA,

No reason they wouldn't be... as has been mentioned, AC used to have them. You should suggest it to the YOW station manager.  Smile

N


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26414 posts, RR: 76
Reply 22, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5322 times:

Quoting CBERFlyer (Reply 15):
Does Ottawa have customs pre-clearance facilities for entry into the U.S.? Remember, DCA does not have customs facilities of its own for international arrivals.

DCA does indeed have customs facilities. If they didn't, they would not be allowed to recieve even pre-cleared flights. Ask Alaska Airlines about that one.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5277 times:

Quoting Goodmanr (Reply 19):
Quoting Halls120 (Reply 18):

I drive from my office in downtown DC to Dulles frequently, and it is almost always an easy drive.

I drive from home in NW DC (Spring Valley) to IAD every week or so and it's never an easy drive. Once I'm on the access road it's fine, but it's still far. But getting to the access road is never easy via 495

You shouldn't be using 495 to get to the access road. That is your problem. Why not take Chain Bridge across the Potomac if you don't want to go downtown to catch the GW Parkway?


User currently offlineHanginOut From Austria, joined May 2005, 550 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 5177 times:

Quoting Gigneil (Reply 21):
AC used to have them. You should suggest it to the YOW station manager.

Gigneil

Thanks for the suggestion. bigthumbsup 

I will contact the AC manager at YOW next week and report back on what they say.

HanginOut

PS I didn't know you lived in Adams Morgan, my girlfriend lives there and I'm in the area every few months. I'd come down more often, but you should see the outrageous fares AC charges for the YOW-IAD flight ($700CDN). Unless of course you book three months in advance, but with our schedules we're lucky to be able to book seats two weeks in advance.



Dreaming of the day I can work for an airline
25 N1120A : Perhaps you should try flying from Montreal?
26 Post contains images CBERFlyer : I didn't realize that! Where in the airport are they, and do the facilities service any particular gates? I assume from your post Alaska Airlines mus
27 N1120A : Alaska Airlines scheduled flights from YVR to SNA. Even though SNA has no FIS facilities, they figured that since Vancouver has pre-clearance that th
28 HanginOut : I've looked into it and it is cheaper (not by much though), but the hassle factor is really high. I'd have to add 4 hours to drive from Ottawa to Mon
29 Post contains images N1120A : YOW-YUL is only a 2 hour drive
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