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Dulles hits record number of international travelers in 2016

International traffic at Washington Dulles International Airport grew for the 13th year in a row in 2016 to a record 7.5 million travelers, according to figures released by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Wednesday.

The number of passengers using the airport for domestic flights rose for the second consecutive year, growing by 1.5 percent to 21.8 million last year.

There was domestic growth of United's Dulles hub operations. Air Canada, LAN Peru and Royal Air Maroc began new international services, while Emirates, Qatar, Copa, Icelandair, South African, Ethiopian, Aer Lingus and Turkish Air also contributed to passenger increases, according to MWAA.

2016 saw Dulles seeking to improve traveler experiences via the opening of 11 new shops and restaurants.

Line-beating features included the introduction of the CLEAR registered travel program, with new kiosks stationed at security checkpoints to verify passenger's identity using biometric technology to expedite the traditional document check. A new mobile passport app. and a new children's play area near gate B70 were additional enhancements. Sunoco also opened a convenience store on site, with expanded food options and fueling stations.

The number of international passengers seems likely to continue its increase with long-awaited direct flights between India and Dulles Airport arriving July 2017.

Nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport also saw record breaking domestic airline activity, serving 23.6 million passengers.

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