Let's take a look at some currents stats.
Air traffic at Dulles for domestic was up 4.9% through July 2017 compared to July 2016. International was up 5.6% for the same time frame.
Source: http://www.mwaa.com/sites/default/files ... report.pdf
Very substantial residential development is continuing in the Northern Virginia counties of Loudoun, Prince William and Fairfax, the principal catchment basin for IAD. It is only a matter of time before this growing population base begins to generate increased domestic flying. Moreover, there is a lot of wealth in these counties. Loudoun County is deemed the "richest" in the United States by the Census Bureau, with Fairfax close behind in third place. Another Northern Virginia locale, the city of Falls Church, located almost directly between DCA and IAD, is second.
Source: https://wtop.com/loudoun-county/2017/07 ... us-bureau/
Tables—Population Growth, 1980–2010Loudoun
2010 312,311Prince William County
2010 402,002Fairfax County
Other rapidly growing counties in Northern Virginia that can be included in the IAD catchment basin include Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Fauquier. And they're sprouting new houses fast. The population of the District of Columbia is steadily growing as well, after years of decline. These new residents in the District are, for the most part, well educated and very well compensated. That usually equates to substantial disposable incomes, a metric very much valued in the airline industry, as it often translates to "frequent flyer."
To be sure, the vast majority of District residents favor DCA over IAD for domestic flying, but a good number will make their way out to IAD to travel internationally if the fare is right. IAD is only 25 miles from downtown DC; it really isn't all that far. Whether by Interstate 66 or the GW Parkway, it's a smooth transition to the toll-free Dulles Access Road, which is a straight, non-congested shot to the airport.
To get an idea what's happening in Northern Virginia development-wise, utilize Street View in Google Maps and visit, oh, let's say, Reston Town Center. Thirty years ago there was no Reston Town Center. Nada. Take a moment to view Loudoun County via the Google Maps satellite image; click off 3D in the menu to get the most recent image. Since 2010, approximately 3000 new units of housing have been approved and built each year in Loudoun. Most are SFD (Single Family Detached), which means families. By 2025, Loudoun's population may be close to 500,000.
The city of Tysons is booming right now, too. Tremendous residential development is underway. And, yes, the switch to Tysons from Tyson's Corner become official last year. When the Silver Line completes in 2020 it will be a short, rapid ride from Tysons to IAD. Arlington County and the city of Alexandria, likewise, are experiencing extensive residential development. Ever hear of Potomac Yard? The more development there is in Northern Virginia, the District, and the close-in Maryland suburbs, the more IAD benefits, even if only tangentially.
Take a minute and check out:https://intysons.com/https://www.alexandriava.gov/PotomacYard
UA has a fortress hub at IAD, with the airline maintaining a market share in recent years between 60 and 64%. With the substantial residential grow continuing in the IAD catchment basin, it would be an exceedingly shortsighted move—stupid really—to downsize operations, either now or in the near future. In fact, UA might find IAD to be of tremendous value if CPE can be reduced further to $12 or 15. When that happens, Dulles will be better able to compete with DCA and BWI fare wise. Everything, of course, is not all roses. IAD faces cost challenges, a new C/D terminal is sorely needed. But the future is bright for UA and IAD if they play their cards right.