In Case You Missed It: Chairman Of U.S. House Subcommittee On Aviation Voices Support For Affordable Access To Nation’s Capital

Notes Additional Flights To & From DCA Should Be Authorized in FAA Reauthorization Bill

In case you missed it, in an event hosted this week by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), U.S. Representative Garret Graves (R-LA), Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation voiced support for modernizing the outdated perimeter rule that artificially restricts air travel at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). 

Rep. Graves noted that adding flights at DCA is a pro-consumer solution that would increase competition in the Washington, D.C. air travel market. He also added that he hopes the argument is revisited in Congress once the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill continues to move forward in Congress.

  • There are three times during the day where there are lulls or drops, or said another way, you could add more flights in. So, why don’t we try to add additional slots outside the 1,250-mile perimeter, but require that they go during those lull periods? It seems like that would be a good solution. I believe that is pro-consumer. I believe that with the increase in air travel, you are not giving a gut punch to this whole concept… There has been an explosion in air travel and so you are still going to have ample service or ample demand for you at Dulles Airport, but we also are going to be taking advantage of the convenience of National (DCA). So I think there is a balance that can be struck there,” said U.S. Representative Garret Graves (R-LA)

Capital Access Alliance (CAA) spokesperson Brian Walsh was also part of a panel hosted by AEI during the event to discuss the ongoing debate around authorizing additional flights to and from DCA.  

Walsh outlined the history surrounding the perimeter rule before adding that despite technological advances, upticks in air travel nationwide and population growth across Northern Virginia, the perimeter rule has stayed the same and prevented air travel from keeping up with these trends. Additionally, Walsh noted that due to the perimeter rule and lack of competition, Washington, D.C., has the highest ticket prices in the country.

Walsh highlighted the bipartisan support in Congress for increasing competition and adding more flights to strengthen affordable access to the nation’s capital. The primary opposition, United Airlines – which controls nearly 70 percent of all the gates at Dulles International Airport (IAD) – is trying to maintain its government-sponsored competitive advantage by spreading a misleading narrative that regional flights would be cut. Walsh emphasized that any potential additional flights are purely additive and would not threaten any existing flights to or from DCA.

Finally, Walsh highlighted that recent investments in DCA to expand its capacity combined with data revealing that it is an underutilized airport show that DCA can handle the minimal number of additional flights proposed in the U.S. Senate.

Watch the entire panel HERE


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.