The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority on Wednesday kicked off Project Journey, a $1 billion, multi-year effort to transform the passenger experience at Reagan National (DCA).
Scheduled to mobilize in summer 2017, Project Journey includes construction of two new security checkpoints that fully connect the concourse level of Terminal B/C to airline gate areas, build-out of an enclosed commuter concourse to replace the 14 outdoor gates currently serviced by buses and future improvements to roadway and parking configurations.
“Reagan National’s passenger areas were designed to serve 15 million passengers annually,” said Jack Potter, president and CEO of MWAA. “Today, more than 23 million passengers travel through the airport — straining its infrastructure, crowding travelers and hampering our ability to provide best-in-class customer service. Project Journey will transform and improve the passenger experience.”
MWAA said design has been completed for two new security checkpoints that will be constructed above the Terminal B/C arrivals roadway and connected to National Hall and walkways from the Metrorail station and parking garages. Upon activation the new checkpoints will expand capacity from 20 to 28 security lanes, expediting the screening process and creating a seamless, free-flowing environment between Terminal B/C airline concourses and the new commuter concourse. The resulting connectivity is designed to provide passengers with an improved post-security experience — alleviating gate area congestion while expanding access to a variety of shopping and dining options.
Project Journey will also replace the 14 outdoor aircraft boarding positions accessed by bus with a new commuter concourse. The concourse will provide regional travelers with direct, enclosed access to planes via jet bridges, spacious waiting and boarding areas, diverse seating options with integrated power outlets and new concessions. The concourse design includes architectural features consistent with the Terminal B/C’s exposed metal beams, glass walls and domed ceilings while maximizing open, navigable gate areas and panoramic views of downtown Washington, D.C.
“Passengers are at the center of everything we do,” said Paul Malandrino, vice president and airport manager of Reagan National. “While construction will take time and have some impacts along the way, the final product will provide a much more pleasant customer experience at the airport. We will work closely with contractors, airlines and the TSA throughout the project to manage the construction in order to minimize airport passenger and operational disruptions.”
The project will occur in two concurrent phases. The first, comprised of the new security checkpoints, is planned to open in 2020, while the commuter concourse is scheduled for completion in 2021.
To prepare for Project Journey construction, MWAA’s headquarters staff will relocate from airport grounds to Crystal City in April. The current headquarters building, located on the site of the future commuter concourse, will be demolished as part of the project.