National Airport set to open new 14-gate concourse, spelling the end for D.C.’s most-dreaded gate

Mar 18, 2021

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For D.C. residents and visitors have something new to look forward to as travel continues to return.

The new terminal at Reagan National Airport finally has an opening date: April 20.

The new concourse, which will hold gates 46 through 59 — has been under construction since 2017. It’s the first major improvement for the airport in more than two decades.

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Most excitingly, for many travelers: the new concourse means that passengers will no longer have to use the infamous Gate 35X, a notoriously cramped area where passengers would have linger before boarding a bus to their aircraft.

Buses line up to shuttle passengers between Gate 35X and planes at Washington National Airport (Photo by Ben Mutzabaugh, TPG)

According to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the concourse will not be completely finished when it opens in April. But even though the April launch will be more of a “soft opening” with “several months” of construction remaining, passengers will be able to begin using the new gates right away.

The opening comes at a unique time for the airline and broader travel industries, with demand and passenger counts still severely below 2019 levels due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

More:White House could relax COVID-19 travel restrictions as early as May

However, passenger counts have been steadily ticking up for several weeks, constantly setting new pandemic-era records. Forward bookings and flight searches are also increasing, suggesting that a travel boom is on the horizon as more Americans receive their coronavirus vaccines.

Featured image courtesy of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

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