Capital Access Alliance Highlights Support For Modernizing The Antiquated Perimeter Rule As Senate Readies For FAA Reauthorization Debate

Over the past few months, key voices from around the country have spoken out in support of modernizing the DCA perimeter rule and giving air travelers more affordable access to our nation’s capital. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is the only airport in the country governed by a 1960s-era federal perimeter rule that artificially limits directs access to some of the country’s biggest cities and it has led to Washington, D.C. having the highest ticket prices among all top metropolitan areas in the country.

As the U.S. Senate considers the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill and with it, additional flights to and from DCA, it is important to highlight the many diverse voices who are supporting this effort. Here are a few examples:

“Federal Aviation Administration data reveals there are multiple blocks of time each day when runway and airspace capacity exceed demand, so that air-traffic control could safely and efficiently handle more flights … Fundamentally, the only reason to oppose modernizing the perimeter rule is to protect some airlines from competition. That motivation certainly still exists in Washington today, to the detriment of fliers. If the status quo prevails, consumers will continue to pay the price through higher airfares and fewer travel options.”

– Former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta

“Taxpayers funding government travel from Washington to other parts of the country pay the higher ticket prices caused by the lack of competition. Major businesses headquartered in Northern Virginia also pay stepped-up ticket prices for their employees’ travel. But individual travelers pay those same higher fares, with no government or business to cover the cost. That’s why a majority of Virginians supports modernizing the perimeter rule.”

– Former Governor James S. Gilmore III (VA)

“Some things from 1966 remain timeless, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. But in our current age of innovation and competition, 1960s-era big government protectionism has outlived its usefulness. Demand for air travel is ten times higher than it was back then. It only makes sense for the perimeter rule to be adapted to better meet consumers’ needs.”

– Former U.S. Representative Ryan Costello (PA)

“To be clear, expanding the number of direct flights between DCA and out-of-perimeter airports in the western half of the United States would not impact or limit the flight options for travelers inside the federally imposed artificial barrier – it would only enhance the options that consumers have.”

– Former U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla (TX)

“It doesn’t make sense that the Washington, D.C. market is still controlled by a stagnant, anti-competitive regulation enacted by Congress before the Boeing 737 made its first commercial flight.”

– State Representative Michael Murphy (KS- 114) & former United Airlines pilot

“Greater competition means lower prices for Missouri’s business travelers and families.”

– Former Speaker Tim Jones (MO)

“Congressional approval of additional in- and beyond-perimeter flights at DCA is a commonsense approach that reflects what the market and the consumer would like to see.”

– Former Speaker William Howell (VA)

“Lowering the cost of flying and expanding the convenience of air travel is in everyone’s interests.”

– The Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow Stephen Moore

“As someone who spent his entire career ensuring airplanes could land and take-off safely, I can say with certainty that DCA can handle more capacity.”

– Retired Certified Professional Air Traffic Controller Todd Jacobson

“More flights could be slotted in easily at off-peak times, alleviating the pressure on travelers and airline employees alike. That’s one fix DCA needs.”

– The Washington Times Editorial Board

“We need a modern policy that supports our economic development. Virginia legislators should support the Hispanic community and pass the DCA Act.”

– Northern Virginia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce Founding President Chair Susana Marino

“Congress should take the logical next steps to address the lack of access Utah and other Western states have to our nation’s capital when they take up the FAA Reauthorization bill later this year. Authorizing additional in- and beyond-perimeter flights at DCA will provide increased access to legislators for Utahns, more affordable ticket prices spurring travel, and the added convenience when flying.”

– Salt Lake Chamber President & CEO Derek Miller

“California’s small businesses and our communities are incredibly diverse, as are our needs and concerns. These unique voices would benefit greatly from inclusive access to our national government in Washington, D.C. It is critical we have the opportunity to meet with the policymakers who are responsible for regulating and representing us to ensure everyone’s needs and concerns are heard.”

– California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce President & CEO Julian Cañete

“It’s about time. Representing the 10th-largest city in the nation, we are behind. We want to see the progress continue to allow for the economic development that we’re enjoying now in Austin. This is an auspicious moment to ensure that we’re continuing to walk the talk, so to speak.”

– Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber Chief Operating Officer Brittney Rodriguez

CAA has also highlighted the positive impact additional flights would have for all Americans.

  • CAA recently released an ad, “Darlene” in Spanish and English, which tells the story of a high school social sciences teacher at a Title I school near Los Angeles, California who has taken her students to Washington, D.C. for more than 25 years.
  • Addressing misleading statements by United Airlines to lawmakers on Capitol Hill and air travelers around the country regarding adding flights to DCA, CAA released a statement and video setting the record straight that new flights at DCA would not impact any existing regional routes.
  • As opponents attempted to misuse FAA data to distort the argument around adding flights at DCA, CAA also released a memorandum clarifying that FAA data shows that DCA has the capacity to add more flights.

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.