Press Releases

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement regarding the Senate’s ramming through of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act without a vote on their amendments regarding a dangerous provision that will add five incoming and five outgoing flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA):

“The Senate abdicated its responsibility to protect the safety of the 25 million people who fly through DCA every year. Just weeks after two aircraft nearly crashed into one another at DCA, this body refused to take up our commonsense amendment to remove a dangerous provision that would have crammed more flights onto the busiest runway in America. We even offered a compromise: another amendment that would have given the Secretary of Transportation the power to settle this matter after considering the implications more flights would have on delays and passenger safety. But some of our colleagues were too afraid to let the experts make the call. They didn’t want to show the American people that they care more about a few lawmakers’ desire for direct flights than they care about the safety and convenience of the traveling public. That is shameful and an embarrassment.”

Warner and Kaine have long warned about the consequences of more flights at DCA. DCA is severely overburdened. The addition of ten flights to and from DCA is an enormous risk to passenger safety and will cause alarming delays. DCA’s main runway is the busiest in the country with nearly 25 million passengers every year, and the provision will increase delays by 725 minutes per day, leading to a total of 12,734 minutes of overall daily delay at the airport, according to FAA data. In April, two aircraft narrowly avoided a crash on the cramped runway.

Last week, Warner and Kaine sent a letter to his Senate colleagues expressing concern over this provision in the FAA reauthorization.

In March, they sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee opposing any changes to the rules in the FAA reauthorization. They penned an op-ed last June urging their colleagues to oppose changes to the rules.