Brookville Equipment Corporation to rehab Dulles International's plane mate and mobile lounge vehicles

April 23, 2024
Brookville will make upgrades to the authority's plane mate and mobile lounge interiors, drive trains and engines.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's (MWAA) $16.4 million contract with the Brookville Equipment Corporation was given Notice to Proceed (NTP) on Nov. 2, 2023. The contract requires Brookville to launch the rehabilitation and upgrade of the existing plane mate and mobile lounge vehicles at Washington Dulles International Airport (Dulles International), which will include one prototype of each vehicle type. 

Upon completion, the MWAA will have the option of revamping the rest of the fleet for an estimated $143 million, not to exceed $160 million, during six years. 

“We are so excited to have the opportunity to rehabilitate these vehicles and bring them back to life, after being a critical part of the operations at Dulles International," said Joel McNeil, executive vice president of Brookville Equipment Corporation. "We plan to reimagine the functionality of these vehicles; with anticipation they will be in operation for decades into the future." 

The vehicles are used to transport passengers from Dulles International's main terminal area to Concourse D, which is not connected to the AeroTrain. In the 1960s, Washington Dulles produced the concept of the mobile lounge, in the peak of the jet age, by saving passengers time by eliminating walking long distances from the ticketing gate to the jet ramp. Currently, the vehicles are used to disembark passengers from most international flights arriving at Dulles International. 

The entire fleet consists of 19 mobile lounges and 30 plane mates. The mobile lounges have been an essential part of Dulles International since opening in 1962 and are considered a historic element. The plane mates were an evolution of the concept and produced in Pennsylvania in the 1970’s and 80’s. The vehicles remain a critical part of the airport’s passenger transfer operations. 

“Mobile lounges and plane mates are important parts of Dulles International Airport’s operations," said Richard Golinowski, vice president and airport manager, Dulles International Airport. "They provide flexibility and increased capacity to move passengers around the airport while offering unique views during the ride. Built in the 60s, it’s time for a major overhaul of these iconic vehicles. We look forward to following the two prototypes through Brookville to Rehabilitate Mobile Lounge and Plane Mate Prototype Vehicles - 2 refurbishment." 

As MWAA continues to expand the facilities at Dulles Airport, including the AeroTrain, the fleet remains a highly effective solution for moving passengers between terminals and aircrafts until future facilities are completed. The vehicles are considered nostalgic among many Dulles travelers, employees and residents of the Nation’s capital.  

Brookville’s contract consists of rebuilding, redesigning and updating the interior of the units, as well as rebuilding the drive train and upgrading the engine to a Tier 4 Engine, lowering the emissions and resulting in a cleaner burning engine. 

Brookville received the prototype of the plane mate on March 28 and the prototype of the mobile lounge on April 17 to start its rehabilitation.