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Additional Air Carrier Service Is Available at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Edward P. Faberman
February 15, 2012 | AirWorthy Alert

Congress has once again approved legislation that will increase flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).  Pursuant to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (the FAA Act), airlines will be able to apply for authority from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to add flights from DCA to any airport in the country.  The recently passed FAA Act requires DOT to allocate eight roundtrips for air carriers seeking to add "beyond perimeter" flights at DCA.

Since 1966, the number of jet aircraft flights permitted at DCA has been restricted.  In 1969, the FAA placed a limit of 60 scheduled operations an hour at DCA.  In 1973, the FAA issued a permanent rule to limit operations in Washington, New York and Chicago, which is still in place for DCA and LaGuardia Airport.  In addition to limits on total flights at DCA, there have been restrictions on distances that can be flown from DCA.  Today, the "beyond perimeter" DCA limitation is 1,250 miles.

Since 1969, steps have been taken by Congress and DOT to add flights at DCA.  For example, in 1980, DOT issued a rule which allocated 18 slots to new entrant New York Air at DCA, enabling New York Air to enter the air shuttle market.  This action was consistent with the preamble to Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 43, which made it clear that a primary objective of the Secretary of Transportation is to promote competition.

Since 1980, some additional flights have been added at DCA.  However, airlines have found that when DCA "slots" are allocated for beyond perimeter service, it is a highly competitive procedure that must be carefully managed. We have worked with a number of airlines to add service at DCA for "within" and "beyond" perimeter service, such as the additional flights of Frontier Airlines from DCA to Denver.

For more information, please contact Edward P. Faberman at 202.719.7402 or efaberman@wileyrein.com.


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