Reagan National celebrates the completion of Project Journey
It was a day of celebration for Reagan National today with federal, state and local officials joining Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) president and CEO John Potter at a dedication ceremony to mark the completion of the gateway’s $1 billion capital improvement project.
Project Journey has added new 14-gate concourse to replace Gate 35X, which celebrated its soft opening in April, and two new security checkpoints, which will increase the number and size of security screening lanes in Terminal B/C and are expected to open in November.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, FAA Administrator, Steve Dickson and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator, David Pekoske, were among the officials at the event, held in a 50,000-square-foot security checkpoint buildings at Washington Reagan National.
“Project Journey is helping us create the airport of the future at Reagan National, giving travellers more options and improving the passenger experience,” enthused MWAA’s Potter.
“We thank our customers for their patience over the past four years as construction took shape and are exceedingly grateful to everyone who helped make this project a success.
“These new spaces are opening at the perfect time as we are expecting a 35% increase in flight capacity starting in November, as a result of the FAA domestic slot waivers expiring, which will aid the airport in approaching pre-pandemic holiday traffic levels.”
The project is the airport’s most significant expansion of facilities in nearly 25 years and will substantially improve customer convenience, passenger connectivity and security standards.
Key components include a 225,000-square-foot 14-gate concourse that began serving passengers in April and two new 50,000-square-foot security checkpoint buildings slated to open in early November.
The new concourse replaced Gate 35X, which for years required passengers to take buses to and from outdoor boarding areas because of limited gate space in the terminal.
Now, they can enjoy a state-of-the-art, energy efficient building that complements the design of its neighbouring gates while adding wider hallways, modern amenities and comfortable seating for up to 850 customers.
The experience is further augmented by new shopping and dining options and signature views of the airfield and cityscape before boarding aircraft via jetbridges. Construction of the new concourse was accelerated during COVID to take advantage of reduced airfield activity – resulting in a soft opening three months ahead of schedule.
“Airports are the economic engines for communities across the country,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “The expansion and innovation happening here will keep our country safely moving and growing.”
While the new concourse was under construction, two new security checkpoint buildings also were built between the airport Metrorail station and Terminal B/C – providing convenient access to 85% of the airport’s gates. The buildings provide dedicated space for generous queuing areas and more than a dozen TSA screening lanes per building.
The new security facilities replace three smaller checkpoints currently located at the entrances to concourses, with those spaces to be converted into areas for additional passenger amenities.
According to MWAA, the new arrangement will put more of the airport terminal beyond security, giving passengers greater opportunities to visit other parts of the airport – including shops and restaurants – and also making connecting flights between concourses much easier and more efficient.
The new checkpoint areas also give TSA the opportunity and space to install the latest state-of-the-art equipment to help streamline the screening process and make their operations more pleasant, efficient and convenient for passengers.
“The new, more spacious checkpoints at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will enable our Transportation Security Officers to screen a larger number of passengers more efficiently,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.
“TSA’s strong partnership with the airports authority and our airport and airline stakeholders played a critical role in achieving our goal of modernising our screening operations at Reagan National.
All 23 new screening lanes will include state-of-the-art screening technology that improves both security and the passenger experience. These technologies include our most advanced credential authentication and computed tomography equipment.”
Wednesday’s dedication event, staged in a socially distanced, COVID-safe environment, included a joint honour guard from MWAA’s Police Department and TSA, a ribbon cutting, a demonstration of new TSA checkpoint equipment and a walking tour of the new concourse.
The new checkpoints open to passengers on or about November 9. When they open, passengers will follow new signage and paths to reach their gates.