Press Releases

WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD) filed an amendment to strip a provision from the negotiated text of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act that adds five incoming and five outgoing flights to the overburdened Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), which would risk passenger safety and worsen flight delays.

“We are introducing an amendment to block additional flights in and out of DCA from this year’s FAA Reauthorization Act because passenger safety should be the number one priority when it comes to legislation impacting our airports. We understand that some of our colleagues have to travel a long way to get to D.C. But the convenience of a handful of members is not as important as the safety of the 25 million people who use DCA every year. Last month’s near-miss at this airport is a startling reminder of what’s at stake if Congress jams even more flights onto the busiest runway in America. We urge our colleagues to join us in stopping this dangerous effort,” said the senators.

DCA is operating at near peak capacity, and adding an additional five round trip flights would increase delays by 725 minutes per day, leading to a total of 12,734 minutes of overall daily delay at DCA, according to FAA data. In April, two aircraft narrowly avoided a crash, underscoring the urgent need to reject additional flights at DCA.

The announcement follows a letter sent Monday by Warner, Kaine, Cardin, and Van Hollen to all 96 of their Senate colleagues urging them to oppose the provision.

The senators have repeatedly opposed changes to the slot and perimeter rules, which govern the number and distance of flights that can safely operate out of DCA. In April, Warner and Kaine spoke on the Senate floor regarding the near miss at DCA and the need to block additional flights at the airport. In March, Warner, Kaine, Cardin, and Van Hollen sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Commerce and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committees opposing any changes to the rules in the FAA reauthorization. They also penned an op-ed last June urging their colleagues to oppose changes to the rules.

The amendment is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO). Full text of the amendment is available here.