WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) issued the following statement today:
“With the expansion of Metro access to Dulles, long-distance flights from the Washington region have never been more accessible or competitive. The slot and perimeter rules help to balance consistent world-class aviation services at the region’s three major airports, which has in turn allowed for billions of dollars in private-sector capital investment in the metropolitan Washington area. As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), we will strongly oppose any efforts to disrupt or undermine the balance between Dulles and National, an airport one-fourteenth the size of Dulles.”
Acknowledging the physical limitations at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA), Congress has since 1986 restricted the number of nonstop flights that can originate out of DCA to airports outside of a 1,250-mile perimeter, while Washington Dulles International (IAD) was planned as the growth airport for the region’s aviation needs. However, in past FAA reauthorization bills, Congress has made changes to these rules that have disrupted the balance in this two-airport system by adding additional flights from Reagan to destinations outside the 1,250-mile perimeter. These changes in flight activity have produced significant stress on DCA’s facilities, from strained roadways and limited parking availability to overburdened baggage systems, and created frustrations for travelers, businesses, and local residents. Those changes have also prevented Dulles, whose size allows for larger planes to land and take off, from realizing its full potential as the primary long-haul flight destination for the Washington metropolitan area. In March, Sens. Warner and Kaine were joined by the two senators from Maryland in sending a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee, which has responsibility for drafting legislation to reauthorize the FAA, strongly opposing any further changes at airports that serve residents of the National Capital Area.