The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has launched Project Journey, a $1 billion, multi-year construction effort to transform the passenger experience at Reagan National Airport. The project is needed because Reagan National was designed to comfortably serve 15 million passengers annually, yet today more than 23 million passengers travel through the airport — straining infrastructure, crowding travelers and challenging the airport’s ability to provide a positive customer experience.
The project, which is a customer enhancement that maintains the airport’s current flight capacity, will replace the 14 outdoor commuter aircraft boarding positions now served through Gate 35X with a new commuter concourse, giving travelers direct, enclosed access to aircraft via jet bridges, eliminating bus operations currently in place at Gate 35X.
The new commuter concourse will also have spacious waiting and boarding areas, diverse seating options with integrated power outlets and new concessions conveniently located near the gates. Passengers traveling through the commuter concourse will recognize architectural features consistent with Terminal B/C — large glass windows, domed skylight ceilings and views of downtown Washington, D.C.
In addition to the new commuter concourse, Project Journey will also offer passengers traveling through the existing concourses an improved post-security experience. This will be accomplished by relocating the existing security checkpoints so that passengers can move freely between gate areas and enjoy all the amenities the airport offers without having to exit and re-enter the security process. The two new security checkpoints will be constructed above the existing arrivals roadway, connected to Terminal B/C and the walkways from the Metrorail station and parking garages. Once complete, the expanded checkpoints will expedite the screening process and create a more open environment throughout the main terminal and the concourses.
Set to begin construction in summer 2017, Project Journey will occur in two overlapping phases. The new security checkpoints are expected to open in 2020. The 14-gate commuter concourse is scheduled for completion in 2021.
The changes that the airport will undergo over the next several years will ease overcrowding and congestion, while transforming the passenger experience to one that is more enjoyable and engaging.