The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) hopes to “tighten up” the timeline for the $1 billion capital programme underway at Ronald Reagan Washington National airport.

The operator plans to complete an environmental assessment by September and open the project ahead of the current 2020 timeline, said Jack Potter, president of MWAA, at the US Chamber of Commerce aviation summit in Washington DC on 22 March.

The programme includes a new 14-gate regional concourse for American Airlines north of terminal B/C, relocating security checkpoints in order to expand the secure area and facilitate pier-to-pier connections at the airport as well as other landside access improvements.

Potter repeatedly says the capital programme at National is on schedule, even though MWAA has not held public meetings on the environmental assessment under the timeline it released in April 2015.

That timeline called for public scoping meetings in June 2015, a public comment period on the draft environmental assessment in late 2015 and a final environmental report by this May.

MWAA has not released an updated timeline for the works since last April.

The capital programme comes as a response to the dramatic rise in passenger traffic at National. The airport handled 23 million passengers in 2015, a 23% increase over the previous year.

The terminals at Washington National, the last of which opened in 1997, were designed to handle roughly 15 million to 16 million annual passengers.

Source: Cirium Dashboard