Skip to content

Cost-per-enplanement comes in below projections at local airports

Lower rates may help Dulles, National score success with airlines

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority continues to make progress in whittling down the costs it passes to airlines that use Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports.

Full-year 2023 cost-per-enplanement totals were $15.71 at Dulles and $9.38 at National, according to figures presented May 15 to the airports authority’s board of directors.

That compares to budgeted amounts of $15.98 and $9.90, respectively. Totals for 2023 were $17.69 at Dulles and $11.15 at Reagan National.

As the name suggests, cost-per-enplanement takes the airport-related costs paid by airlines and divides them into the total passenger count. It is a relatively apples-to-apples way to compare costs borne by airlines (and, ultimately, travelers) at airports across the country.

Reagan National’s figure of $9.38 is below the pre-pandemic total of $11.49 reported in 2019, while at Dulles the rate of $15.71 is still above the 2019 level ($14.82). In 2020, the year air travel was most affected by the pandemic, cost-per-passenger figures spiked to $37.59 for Dulles and $28.66 for National.