Expanded International Arrivals Building at Dulles

International Arrival Building Greets Travelers

The international arrival facility at Washington Dulles Airport was once a source of complaints, designed for traffic levels over two decades ago.  Today, passengers on international flights to Washington Dulles (IAD) will be greeted by an upgraded federal inspection station (FIS) located inside the expanded International Arrival Building.

Expanding the International Arrival Building (IAB) at Dulles airport required significant construction, which is now finished, just in time for the peak international travel season.  The new facility is able process 2,400 passengers per hour along with their luggage, nearly doubling the original 1991 design capacity.

Highlights of the expanded facility include doubled total floor space to nearly 400,000 square feet, increasing the number of inspection stations to 50, and the installation of six new baggage carousels.  The passenger flow is also streamlined from the arrivals hall all the way through to the passenger greeting area; the use of public art has been incorporated to enhance the passenger experience.

Washington Dulles airport serves as a mid-Atlantic hub for United Airlines and receives a significant amount of international traffic with a mix of Washington DC origin/destination passengers and those making onward connections on United.

Recent statistics indicate Washington Dulles served 6.5 million international passengers in 2011, which makes up more than 25% of the total annual passenger traffic.   The 2011 numbers indicate a 1.6% increase over 2010 and international traffic at Washington Dulles has increased every year since 2003.

Aside from the many existing flights on United and their Star Alliance partners, the following are highlights of new international services at Dulles, including new United International Services:

  • Ethiad with nonstop daily service between Dulles (IAD) and Abu Dhabi (AUH)
  • Emirates with daily nonstop’s between Dulles (IAD) and Dubai (DXB)
  • Aeromexico to Mexico City (MEX), a daily nonstop from Dulles (IAD)
  • Air France between Dulles (IAD) and Paris (CDG) upgraded to an Airbus A380
  • Icelandair with a seasonal service between Dulles (IAD) and Reykjavik, Iceland (KEF)
  • Porter Airlines between Dulles (IAD) and Toronto City Airport (YTZ) 4x daily
  • United Airlines to Manchester, UK (MAN)
  • United Airlines to Dublin, Ireland (DUB)
  • United Airlines to Doha, Qatar (DOH)


Public art, designed to enhance the beauty of the space include:

  • The Game of Flyers, Part Two 2012” –  a large, suspended sculpture in the primary inspection hall by artist Alice Aycok;
  • North/East/South/West” – Four suspended lens sculptures beneath the skylights in the customs baggage claim area by Ray King.  The project splashes of color on the floor from the incoming sunlight.
  • The Pendulum Project” – A dynamic, visual wall sculpture near the International Arrival Building exit by Mikyoung Kim.


Washington Dulles is undergoing a number of renovations, modernizing the airport.  One of the most important upgrades will come in the form of public transportation as the Metro Washington subway line is extended to Dulles Airport.

On a final note, this year is the 50th anniversary of Washington Dulles International Airport.  Washington Dulles was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy on November 17, 1962, and the airport is celebrating its 50th year of service to Greater Washington, D.C. area.


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