Several factors make Dulles's future unpredictable right now, it seems to me. The density, type, and distribution of air traffic from IAD
will depend on how several items go in the next couple of years.
First, whether Independence Air succeeds. If they do, they will undermine UA
's ability to get enough feed on RJ
's to support most of its current domestic traffic. If they don't, UA
will continue to fly in most pax from medium and smaller markets in the East. That will affect the number of int'l destinations UA
can support out of IAD
, and the size of a/c used.
Second, as Steven notes, if US makes it or not. If US goes Ch. 7, UA
has an excellent infrastructure at IAD
ready to absorb US traffic from all three of its hubs. (though a fourth runway would then become needed sooner rather than later, and MWAA has been doing planning work on that).
But that will also depend upon whether another network carrier wants to give it a go at PHL
in the face of Southwest. I think NW
might be willing to run an MEM
-like mostly-RJ hub at PHL
, primarily to feed international flights. NW
's CASM is lower than US's and they probably could run a smaller hub like that at PHL
side by side with WN
Dulles might be easy to get to from within Virginia, but it's not at all convenient from DC or much of Maryland. Getting to that long and relatively-uncongested toll road from across the Potomac can be real hell at certain times of day. Blue-van shuttle services are expensive and (like the Wash Flyer buses) have to fight their way through traffic, unlike the $5, four-stop MARC train to BWI
. I live in Northeast DC and find BWI
much, much easier (and usually about 10 minutes faster) to get to. I avoid Dulles like the plague.