United Airlines will invest at least $34 million at Washington Dulles International Airport to expand the C-Concourse and construct a new Polaris Lounge.
In a “public-private” partnership, United will front the bill to add an extension to Terminal C in order to house a new Polars Lounge. In exchange, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) will reimburse United $33.8 million for the capital improvements. This repayment will come via direct reimbursement rather than reduced rent.
While the $33.8MN will cover the structure itself, United will pay for all the interior work inside the lounge. Based upon this Powerpoint presentation, the new lounge will be located across the hall from current C17 lounge (meaning United would still maintain four United Clubs at IAD). That’s in the middle of United’s C/D terminal and also near the walkway to the aerotrain station. The new Polaris lounge will be 20,000 square feet, larger than Chicago and Houston but smaller than Newark and San Francisco.
The construction will also “improve the flow” of international arrivals on the lower level. United has not communicated a timeline for completion, though construction will begin next year.
The Dulles “Problem”
Technically, the C and D Terminals at Washington Dulles are temporary terminals. They were constructed in the 1980s with plans for a permanent terminal. Of course, that never occurred. If you ever wondered why the Aerotrain lets you off so far from the actual terminal, the reason is because it is directly under where the “permanent” new terminal was slated to be.
But let’s not fool ourselves. With all the money United and MWAA have invested in the current Terminal C/D, there will be no new terminal. At least for decades to come…
A new Polaris Lounges and continued capital improvements merely signal that the “temporary” terminal is no longer temporary.
United had originally predicted its Polaris Lounge at Dulles would open this year. That never happened, of course, but at least we are seeing progress now. As for the “temporary” terminals at IAD: get used to them. They are not going anywhere…