In another feather in its cap as efforts to move past COVID intensify, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority recently celebrated the launch of new nonstop service between Washington Dulles International Airport and Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan.
Amman marks the 39th global capital city to be directly connected to the Washington region via Dulles, said Jack Potter, CEO of the authority, during a May 5 ceremony marking the inaugural flight.
“These capital-to-capital connections are important to our nation and our region, and we are grateful that our partners at United Airlines provide 26 of these 39,” Potter said.
United Flight 526 departs Amman at 1:15 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, arriving in Washington at 6:30 a.m. (all times local) with the return Flight 525 departing Dulles at 10 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and arriving in Jordan at 3:55 p.m. the subsequent day.
Service is provided on Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
At an event prior to the inaugural flight from Dulles, officials from the Airports Authority, United Airlines, the U.S. Department of State and the Embassy of Jordan joined passengers in celebrating the new service.
Traditional Jordanian food and drink were provided, along with a performance of a traditional Jordanian folk dance.
“We are proud that United is the first airline to offer nonstop service from Washington to Amman,” said Eddie Gordon Jr., United’s managing director of airport operations at Dulles. “We already offer more flights to more destinations than any other airline at Washington Dulles, and this new route will enrich the international destinations available to our customers.”
United Airlines has operated a hub at Dulles International for more than 30 years, maintaining dominance at the airport through the COVID era.
The overall passenger total at Washington Dulles Airport in 2021 stood at 15 million, up 80.1 percent from 8.3 million in 2020 but still well down from the 24.8 million passengers using the facility in the last full pre-COVID year of 2019.
International service, which in normal years constitutes about a third of the passenger count at Dulles, followed a similar trajectory – up 69 percent from 2020 to 2021 but still well below 2019 figures.
But the rebound continues, and Airports Authority officials are planning for a future that envisions growth.
In April, Airports Authority officials proposed a new concourse at Dulles to replace outdoor boarding areas currently used by regional flights, upgrade aircraft service facilities and bring new conveniences and amenities to passengers.
The proposed “Tier-2 Concourse (East)” would be a modern 14-gate facility with access to the airport’s underground Aerotrain system and would include new shops, restaurants and other customer services as well as the latest aircraft-servicing technologies.
Airport officials are seeking $230 million in federal funds to get the project started.