Project Journey: To Enhance the Travel Experience at Reagan National Airport

By Kristin Nevels Clarkson

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Demolish buildings: Check. Investigate utilities: Check. Lay foundation: Check. Assemble steel: Check. 

Project Journey, the capital improvement effort to build a 14-gate concourse and two security checkpoint buildings at Reagan National Airport is steadily progressing, thanks in large part to substantial cross-departmental coordination and planning. Much of it unfolds behind the scenes from the daily hustle and bustle.
Richard Golinowski and Paul Malandrino are leaders of an airport-focused team who, about three years ago, took a field trip to New York’s LaGuardia Airport to observe what could go right or wrong for passengers during a transformative construction project. Upon returning, their notebooks were full of ideas as the process for improving the layout of Reagan National kicked off.

Golinowski and Malandrino put teams together from different departments at the airport including airlines, engineering, legal, operations and revenue to discuss the project at length before meeting with designers to put pen to paper on how construction should move forward. Each entity needed to understand the process, the duration and the impact on day-to-day business.

“Everybody has their own interests in a new project and everybody wants to make sure their ideas and concepts and needs are attended to,” said Golinowski. “It’s really important to remember that every single person on this airport is impacted by the construction.”

The teams log many hours in weekly planning meetings to preview upcoming work because they understand improper planning could have a negative impact on the whole operation of the airport. They pore over decisions like when particular construction tasks should be performed to minimize the impact on customers. 
“In the airport business we must be ready to handle any challenge - not tomorrow, nor next week, but today,” Malandrino said. “We’re always thinking ahead on what we need to do to keep this airport functioning.”

Reagan National’s facilities were previously designed to serve far fewer customers than they do today, leading to crowding at security checkpoints and in gate areas. But when Project Journey is complete, customers will have a more pleasant travel experience. 

“That to me is going to greatly improve customer service. So all the pain we’re going through now is really going to pay dividends when we’re finished,” said Malandrino.

“We’re setting ourselves up for great things once we open up these two new facilities,” Golinowski added. “They will really bring a breath of fresh air to Reagan National Airport.”

To learn more about the construction, visit FlyReagan.com/ProjectJourney.