Did you know that Arlington’s Reagan National Airport was originally built (in 1941) to accommodate 15 million passengers annually? However, its traffic grew over the years to close to 23 million a year. This tremendous surge led to the creation of the infamous “Gate 35X.” Gate 35X was not a true passenger gate but rather an escalator ride to a holding area where passengers were then bussed to their aircraft. Travelers would often groan when they glanced at their boarding pass and see the dreaded “35X” as their departure gate. It was quite the hassle to have to shuttle outside, especially in the cold winter weather or in the sweltering summer heat.
The new Reagan Airport terminal began in 2017 to replace Gate 35X. Construction is nearly complete and the terminal is slated for a soft opening in April 2021, with final completion in July 2021. The new 14-gate terminal covers an area previously occupied by aircraft hangars and an office building. The 225,000 square-foot concourse is a fully-enclosed structure made of glass and metal. Its design coordinates with that of the existing terminals.
The new concourse will replace Gate 35X’s busing operation with direct, enclosed access to planes via jetbridges and spacious holding areas. This billion-dollar project also includes an expanded security screening area and new shopping and dining experiences such as Wolfgang Puck Bar & Bites, Mezeh Mediterranean Grill, and Peet’s Coffee. An American Airlines Admirals Club will also open in the new concourse. More dining options will be added as air travel resumes to a pre-pandemic level.
The new Reagan Airport terminal will bring certainly passengers increased comfort and convenience!