In Case You Missed It: Former FAA Administrator Says Modernizing Perimeter Rule Will Balance Present Travel Demand & Consumer Choice
“Millions of Americans would benefit from lower ticket prices, less time on connecting flights and greater access to America’s capital city. Fundamentally, the only reason to oppose modernizing the perimeter rule is to protect some airlines from competition.” – Michael Huerta, former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
In case you missed it, Michael Huerta, former administrator of the FAA, writes in a new op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that the outdated federal perimeter rule at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is raising costs for consumers. He calls the Direct Capital Access Act “a responsible and measured solution that will balance current travel demand and consumer choice, while keeping current regional routes intact.” Huerta points to FAA data which shows there are dedicated blocks of time throughout the day where DCA can safely add more flights, which will give travelers more choices at lower prices.
The DCA perimeter rule was enacted by Congress in 1966 to allow Dulles International Airport (IAD) to grow and compete, but nearly 60 years later, the antiquated rule is no longer needed and is making air travel more expensive by limiting competition.
Read the entire piece in The Wall Street Journal HERE and below:
Tear Down This Perimeter
The Wall Street Journal
Michael Huerta, former FAA Administrator
June 12, 2023
It’s hard to believe, but some of the biggest cities in the Western U.S. have limited or no direct air-travel access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. This includes San Diego, Seattle, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Austin, Texas.
The problem is the perimeter rule at Reagan, which generally limits nonstop flights to places within 1,250 miles, roughly the distance to Nebraska. Congress established the rule in 1966, when airline fares, routes and schedules were set by the now-extinct Civil Aeronautics Board. Air travel then was marred by a scarcity of nonstop options, scant competition and artificially inflated fares.
The perimeter rule was originally enacted to ease those problems by helping Dulles International Airport, which opened in 1962, compete with Washington National. But Dulles long ago accomplished that goal and with its new access to the Washington Metro, its future is even brighter.
Rather than improving travel, the perimeter rule now jacks up costs. The Washington region has the highest ticket prices in the country, and Dulles was recently named the most expensive U.S. airport from which to depart.
A responsible and measured solution would be to adopt the Direct Capital Access Act. It would authorize an additional 28 round-trip flights at Reagan within the perimeter and beyond. This would balance present travel demand and consumer choice while also preserving access to regional communities.
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.
Current routes would be safe. The bill would divide new flights evenly among Reagan’s airlines and ensure new choices for direct flights to cities inside and outside the perimeter as dictated by the market. Every community that currently has service to Reagan would keep it.
More than 20 million domestic travelers visited Washington in 2022, many from the West Coast. Millions of Americans would benefit from lower ticket prices, less time on connecting flights and greater access to America’s capital city.
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.
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.