Left to right: Ron Mildiner, Deputy Federal Security Director, Transportation Security Administration; U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia; Governor Ralph Northam, Commonwealth of Virginia; William Sudow, Chairperson, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors; John E. Potter, President and CEO, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority; Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, D.C.; Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia; Administrator David Pekoske of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA); Administrator Steve Dickson of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); American Airlines Executive Vice President Steve Johnson and Paul Malandrino, Vice President and Airport Manager, Reagan National Airport.
Federal, state and local officials joined Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority President and CEO John E. Potter, Board of Directors Chairperson William Sudow, regional elected officials and other dignitaries Wednesday for a dedication ceremony to celebrate Project Journey, Reagan National Airport’s $1 billion capital improvement project to enhance the passenger experience.
“Project Journey is helping us create the airport of the future at Reagan National, giving travelers more options and improving the passenger experience,” Potter told about 200 people gathered in one of the new checkpoint areas. “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 percent increase in flight capacity starting in November, as a result of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (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 neighboring 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 percent of the airport’s gates. The buildings provide dedicated space for generous queuing areas and more than a dozen Transportation Security Administration (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. 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 modernizing 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 honor guard from the Airports Authority Police Department and TSA, a ribbon cutting, a demonstration of new TSA checkpoint equipment and a walking tour of the new concourse.
The ceremony was attended by elected officials and other regional leaders, including Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam; Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, D.C.; U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia; U.S. House Members Don Beyer and Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia; Administrator David Pekoske of the TSA; Administrator Steve Dickson of the FAA; and American Airlines Executive Vice President Steve Johnson.
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.