I am confident there is enough traffic in the DC area for all 3 airports to succeed, even if the perimeter rule went away.
I agree. While there is some overlap, IAD, BWI, and DCA each have their respective catchment basins. The population within IAD's prime catchment area numbers around two million, and it's rapidly growing. In time, it is almost inevitable IAD will become the Capital Region's largest airport. There's several factors which are leaning in Dulles' favor, including:
• located near one of most desirable business districts in the country, that is, the Dulles Corridor, which stretches from Tysons to Dulles
• positioned at the center of one of the wealthiest areas in the U.S. — of the highest-income counties in the U.S., Loudoun County is No. 1; Fairfax County, No. 3
• robust population growth in prime catchment basin — Loudoun County will soon hit 500,000; Fairfax 1,200,000; Prince William 500,000+
• new transportation option — Metro — may prove popular, due to ease of use and money savings — no parking fees, no $60+ taxi fares, etc.
• strengthened O/D — 65% in 2011 — population growth in catchment basin may open up new markets, both domestic and international, due to increased O/D demand
If you question my assertion IAD will become the region's largest airport, it may be enlightening to read a 2013 report issued by MWCOG (Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments) that analyzes and forecasts O/D of the region's airports. The report projects IAD becoming the largest airport in terms of enplanements in 2035, overtaking BWI. To be sure, estimates and forecasts are a moving target, and nothing stays the same. Nevertheless, population growth alone points to IAD steadily growing enplanements in upcoming years.
MWCOG Report: https://www.mwcog.org/assets/1/6/APOD_1 ... y_2013.pdf
After bottoming out in 2014, IAD is indeed showing signs of a resurgence. If UA decides to add a bank or two, enplanements will approach the 15 million mark, enabling MWAA to replace C/D with a world-class facility. Additional banks, too, may lift IAD over BWI in enplanements, sooner rather than later.
As for the lifting of perimeter restrictions at DCA, the impact on IAD is increasingly limited, as there's only a handful of additional routes — SAN, SMF, ABQ, SAT — that may be viable from DCA. In fact, as population growth expands in the Dulles catchment basin, these and other beyond perimeter markets more viable at IAD than at either DCA or BWI, all the more so with continuing corporate growth in Tysons, Reston, and other points along the Dulles Corridor. Bear in mind that even though the District of Columbia, Arlington, and Alexandria, are growing, it's the outer areas of the Capital Region — particularly the Virginia counties of Loudoun, Stafford, and Prince William — that are growing at a much, much faster rate, with thousands of new residents added yearly.
List of Highest-Income Counties in U.S.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_h ... ted_States
DCA Route Map (nonstop destinations): https://www.flyreagan.com/dca/nonstop-destinations