Area airports enjoyed increase in passengers last year

WASHINGTON — The area’s three commercial airports — BWI Marshall Airport, Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport — enjoyed growth spurts last year in the number of passengers boarding flights.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s biennial passenger survey reveals that about 34 million passengers boarded flights at the three airports in 2015, compared with about 32 million per year since 2005.

“We’re pleased to be seeing growth overall at all three airports regionally; I think that’s a net positive,” said Richard Roisman, manager of planning data programs for the council of governments.

The survey also indicates that each of the three airports serve distinct markets. Among the factors that influence people’s airport choice, nearly a third said that they relied on the closest airport.

The numbers also reveal that while most people — 57 percent — arrive at the airport in private or rental cars, Uber and Lyft are enjoying an increasing share of the rides. The ride-sharing services have cut into Metrorail’s share of passengers to Reagan National. Metro had a 15 percent share in 2013, which has dropped to 12 percent in 2015.

The survey shows all three airports are thriving: “They’re all doing very well. BWI is leading regionally, with National just a little bit behind — and Dulles, historically, has been strong internationally, not quite as strong domestically, but they’re starting to improve,” Roisman said.

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