Capital Access Alliance Releases New Video Highlighting United Airlines’ Support For More DCA Flights

Reacts To United’s Reversal On Past Opposition & Decision To Apply For New DCA Flight

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, released a new video today highlighting the broad support from the airline industry for adding more flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Even with the modest number of new flights recently authorized by Congress, DCA will still operate thousands of fewer flights than it did over 24 years ago even though there have been important advances in air traffic control technology.

The video specifically emphasizes previous false claims by United Airlines and others against improving affordable and safe access to Washington, D.C. For example, United CEO Scott Kirby previously said that adding more flights at DCA would “have the potential to create more congestion and delays at DCA, trigger a reduction of service at IAD, and threaten the future funding needed to address the shortage of air traffic controllers.” United also funded a multi-million dollar lobbying effort against adding more DCA flights, repeatedly and falsely claiming it would put safety at risk. 

Watch here:

However, United has now reversed course and applied for one of the new five flight pairs authorized in the recently passed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill. United announced late today its bid for a new direct flight to/from DCA and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). As the Capital Access Alliance has said repeatedly over the last year, United’s opposition to new flights was rooted solely against allowing more competition at DCA and preserving its competitive advantage at Dulles International Airport (IAD), which was in part created by the antiquated federal perimeter rule that restricts flights at DCA. As internal emails obtained by CAA confirmed, United was also secretly aided in that failed effort by officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). 

“Seeing the entire airline industry finally come together to support more flights at DCA is great news for consumers and reinforces why Congress should view this legislation as a good first step but that even more can be done to strengthen access at DCA in the future,” said CAA Spokesperson and Northern Virginia resident Brian Walsh. “As we’ve said from the very beginning, giving the flying public more choices is how air travel is made more affordable. Washington, D.C. has the highest ticket prices in the nation because of limited competition, and these new flights will help lower the cost of airfare for millions of travelers. We are pleased that United Airlines and other opposing carriers are now in agreement that DCA can safely add more flights and hope they will work to encourage Congress to authorize a modest number of additional flights in the future to increase access and lower costs.”

Several airlines are vying for one of the new five flight pairs. Today, Delta Air Lines formally submitted its application to introduce new nonstop service between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and DCA, while American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Spirit Airlines have applied to start direct service to and from San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego and San Jose, California, respectively. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is now tasked with reviewing each airline’s application and determining where to allocate each of the new 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.