CAA Reinforces Stronger Competition & Lower Prices In Modernizing Outdated Federal Perimeter Rule

Sets The Record Straight As Opponents Continue Making False Claims

Washington, D.C. – The Capital Access Alliance (CAA), a coalition of transportation and business leaders from Virginia and around the country seeking to make air travel to and from Washington, D.C. more accessible and affordable, is setting the record straight yet again following a recent letter sent to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg from U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) regarding adding more flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

“Once again opponents of modernizing the outdated perimeter rule are distorting the facts,” CAA spokesman and Northern Virginia resident Brian Walsh said today. “It’s unfortunate that a small group of U.S. Senators are so ardently against giving air travelers more choices, resulting in lower costs, especially given the economic benefits to the region, specifically the creation of more than 1,000 jobs and tens of millions in additional tax revenue. Ultimately efforts to oppose adding more flights at DCA are about maintaining the status quo and protecting one major airline from competition instead of standing up for consumers who also happen to be constituents. We are grateful for the strong bipartisan support from many others in Congress to give consumers more affordable access to Washington, D.C.”

FALSE CLAIM: DCA is already at capacity.

  • FACT: The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) own data reveals DCA is underutilized and has the ability to safely add more flights, as there are multiple blocks of low-volume time throughout the day. This has been confirmed multiple times by former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials and aviation experts, including former Administrator Michael Huerta, a 30-year FAA veteran and air traffic controller and former pilot for United Airlines. Additionally, DCA’s $1 billion Project Journey was specifically designed to accommodate “record passenger growth,” with a new 50,000-square-foot security checkpoint and a 225,000-square-foot, 14-gate concourse.

FALSE CLAIM: Authorizing more beyond-perimeter flights means airlines could cut in-perimeter flights.

  • FACT: The bipartisan proposal before the U.S. Senate is strictly additive. Regional airports continue to be provided false information by supporters of the status quo. In particularly, they are seeking to make regional airports believe that current routes are at risk of reduced or eliminated service. There is no legislative language that says any in-perimeter flights would be cut. The reality is that both in- and beyond-perimeter airports stand to benefit from this proposal through stronger direct service to and from DCA.

FALSE CLAIM: Authorizing more flights will hurt consumers.

  • FACT: Washington, D.C. is the most expensive U.S. metropolitan area for air travel because the perimeter rule has stifled competition. The proof is Dulles International Airport (IAD) being named the country’s most expensive airport for domestic travel, with an average ticket price of nearly $500. Adding more flights will boost competition and give consumers more choices at lower prices.
  • DCA also has the highest carbon footprint per passenger among all airports in the top metropolitan areas in the country because of the outsized number of passengers forced to take connecting flights when flying out of DCA instead of taking one direct flight to their destination with a lower carbon footprint.

FALSE CLAIM: Congress shouldn’t micromanage DCA.

  • FACT: If opponents didn’t want Congress micromanaging DCA, they would support making modern reforms to the perimeter rule. No other airport in the country is controlled by a federally imposed perimeter rule and subject to these arbitrary restrictions. If DCA operated like all other U.S. airports, Congress wouldn’t be involved at all. Instead, DCA would operate in a free and competitive market where consumers have more affordable choices and greater accessibility when flying to and from Washington, D.C.

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About CAA

CAA consists of diverse members from around the country and various industries, including transportation, general business groups, the small business sector, entrepreneurs and job creators, organizations focused on economic development, and leaders in the civic and policy communities.

Learn more about Capital Access Alliance HERE.