Press Releases

WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced their intention to object to a plan to fast track a short-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act until there is a commitment that there will be a vote on their amendment to eliminate a dangerous provision in the proposed long-term FAA reauthorization bill that would add five incoming and five outgoing flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The proposed one-week extension would allow Senate leadership to run out the procedural clock on consideration of the FAA bill without allowing a vote on any amendments.

“Last month’s near miss at DCA is a flashing red warning light that this airport is overburdened and that cramming more flights onto the busiest runway in America is a terrible idea. But now, the same senators who crafted a provision in the FAA bill to do just that, behind closed doors and against the advice of all four capital region senators, are asking us to smooth a procedural path to the finish line for that bill without a promise to bring our amendment—or any amendment—up for a vote. We can’t in good conscience greenlight that plan until we have a commitment that there will be an opportunity to put our amendment to a vote, and to persuade our colleagues to prioritize the safety of millions of passengers over a few senators’ desire for a direct flight home.”

Kaine spoke on the Senate floor yesterday about the need to remove the additional flights in the FAA reauthorization.

The additional ten flights at DCA would risk passenger safety and increase delays by 725 minutes per day, leading to a total of 12,734 minutes of overall daily delay at the airport. DCA’s main runway is the busiest in the country with nearly 25 million passengers every year and is operating at near peak capacity. In April, two aircraft narrowly avoided a crash on the runway.

Warner and Kaine have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the addition of flights at DCA and opposed changes to the slot and perimeter rules, which govern the number and distance of flights that can safely operate out of the airport. Last week, Kaine spoke on the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to strike the additional DCA flights from the FAA reauthorization bill. Also last week, the senators sent a letter to their Senate colleagues expressing concern over this provision in the FAA reauthorization.