American Airlines has moved into a new 14-gate concourse at Ronald Reagan Washington National airport (DCA), replacing the much-maligned Gate 35X.
Part of a $1 billion project to transform the airport, the 225,000 square foot concourse is connected to DCA’s existing Terminal B/C, and features floor-to-ceiling windows, and 850 seats “in a range of styles and configurations” with integrated power ports.
Customer amenities include four public restrooms, two mother’s care rooms and an indoor pet relief area.
A new Admirals Club, and a range of new shopping and dining options will also open at the concourse when it is completed in 2022.
Gate 35X first opened in 1997, and at its peak over 6,000 customers passed through the facility each day, accounting for 16 per cent of all customer traffic and 30 per cent of departures.
But it meant passengers having to use buses to transfer to one of 14 remote hardstand gates, and in 2018 washingtonian.com referred to the gate as “an inhumane cattle-herding pen with an escalator that takes you to a bus terminal that takes you to your remotely parked airplane”.
Up to 85 daily departures will be scheduled to depart from the new gates 46-59 this summer.
Commenting on the opening, Robert Isom, president of American Airlines, said:
“The dreaded Gate 35X is no more! American’s new regional concourse at Reagan National Airport is fantastic news for our customers.
“When fully complete, the investments made in partnership with MWAA will finally enable American to deliver a convenient, accessible, world-class product befitting the gateway to our nation’s capital.”
AA plans to operate up to 180 peak day departures from DCA this summer, and the carrier said that “As demand for air travel returns, American plans to provide service on larger regional aircraft operating to and from DCA – adding seat capacity without increasing the number of scheduled flights”.