By now, you’ve likely heard that Amazon has officially announced its decision to build two massive offices in New York’s Long Island City and Arlington’s Crystal City neighborhoods.
The two sites of “HQ2” is expected to have at least 50,000 employees split between them. The highly publicized hunt for its new headquarters will end up lofting up to $2 billion in tax incentives in Amazon’s direction. Meanwhile, the company said it will spend about $5 billion in construction and other investments in the NYC and DC areas.
However, lost amongst the eye-popping numbers and economic analysis was the transportation and flying angle and the announcement that…
Washington National Airport Gets An Upgrade
Amazon is expected to spend about $295 million in transportation and infrastructure improvements in and around Crystal City. This includes a proposed pedestrian connector bridge between the shops, high rises, and offices of Crystal City and the Washington National Airport complex.
With fewer cars coming into the airport for drop-off and pick-up, there will be less congestion and need for parking space. Not only would it benefit future Amazon employees and people that reside nearby, but also the bridge would provide instant connection to the DC Metro and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) located at their Crystal City stations.
The proposal has been in the works for months but will now likely get greenlit and fast-tracked with Amazon’s investment.
The Airlines Flying Between HQ2s Get A Boost
Normally, traveling between the Northeast Corridor city centers is most efficiently done via Amtrak or for those more on a budget, the bus. However, for an Amazon employee needing to visit the other HQ2 office for a meeting, flying seems to make the most sense.
Even without the connector, both HQ2 locations are already in close proximity to regional airports. A drive from Crystal City to DCA is at most, 10 to 15 minutes. Similarly, Long Island City has easy, relatively quick transit to LaGuardia Airport via the 7 train and Q70 bus.
Both Delta and American offer 20+ daily weekday shuttle frequencies between LaGuardia and Washington National. Amazon stands to benefit by connecting its 50,000 east coast HQ2 employees via a short airplane ride. These airlines in turn also reap the benefits of the HQ2 announcement.
To get to Amazon headquarters in Seattle, DCA has nonstop service on Alaska Airlines and multiple frequencies on United and Delta from both Washington Dulles and Baltimore. Meanwhile, New York-JFK and Newark have at least nine daily flights to Seattle. Amazon has their bases covered on both coasts while providing enough connectivity between them.
Business travelers usually fly or take Amtrak between cities along the congested Northeast Corridor. Amazon‘s choice of two neighborhoods not located in the city center will benefit airlines the most. Both HQ2’s put future workers in close proximity to LaGuardia and Washington National, and Delta and American’s combined 20+ daily flights between them.
While the debate over Amazon’s effect on the communities that they’ll occupy will only escalate from here on out, there will at least be a benefit provided to some passengers that fly out of Washington National.
I’ll be keeping a close eye on further Amazon developments on how the company could shape transportation and airlines.