WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Officials from the National Capital Region came together on Wednesday, October 13, to cut the ribbon on the new B C Concourse and look ahead to the Transportation Security Administration screening areas that will be opening November 9.
The upgrades to the airport are being complete just in time for the holiday travel season, and take the place of former Gate 35 X.
The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Airports Authority, John E. Potter, said, “Gone, gone is the infamous Gate 35 X.” His statement was followed by a round of applause from the crowd.
Potter was not the only person to talk about the former gate. Nearly every official made a joke about the terrible situation that travelers faced at Gate 35 X over the years.
Virginia Senator Mark Warner said, “I know I speak for almost everyone that uses this airport on a regular basis, that you all have horror stories of experiences at 35 X.”
The flights landing and taking off at the new concourse used to fly in and out of gate 35 X. However, the new concourse was not made just to replace the dreaded gate. It was a need driven by passenger growth.
“In 2019, National Airports passenger counts were over 60%… above the designed capacity of the B, C Concourse,” Potter said.
The new concourse has plenty of space for people to comfortable travel. It is designed with 14 contact gates, new concessions, multiple seating and electric outlet options — and to top it all off, an indoor bathroom for pets.
“Overall, people will enjoy a completely upgraded experience from check-in to security, shopping, dining, relaxing all before boarding their flight,” Potter said.
While the concourse is open for business, final touches are being made on the two new T.S.A. screening facilities that will be dedicated to smooth, quick trips through security. The upgrades excite local officials, as D.C.A. is the first taste of the National Capital Region for many visitors.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “I have to applaud you for looking forward, seeing what we need to do to accommodate security, but also the experience for our travelers.”
Senator Warner used the upgrades as an example of why the Infrastructure Bill that Congress is being discussed needs to be passed.
He said, “That will include $25 billion for airports that will help this kind of capital improvements. We have to get that done so we can continue the progress being done at Reagan, continue the progress in upgrading our transportation system and continue the progress at making the National Capital Region the most envied in the country.”