In Case You Missed It: Members Of The Texas Congressional Delegation Call For Additional Flights At DCA

In case you missed it, U.S. Representatives Chip Roy (R-TX) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX) expressed bipartisan support for modernizing the perimeter rule at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) by authorizing additional flights in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill.

In a news conference on Monday, Representatives Roy and Castro pointed to the need for their hometown of San Antonio, known as “Military City, USA,” to have stronger and more affordable access to Washington, D.C. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, a direct flight from the San Antonio International Airport (SAT) to DCA would greatly benefit the military community and business leaders, among many others.

Representatives Roy and Castro, who supported a bill last year in the U.S. House to add more flights at DCA, are optimistic the proposal will become a reality this year. In the U.S. Senate, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX) negotiated a reasonable bipartisan deal to authorize five additional flights in its markup of the FAA Reauthorization bill, which Representative Roy said could end up in the final package. Congress has until May 10th to pass the full bill.

Read more in the San Antonio Express-News HERE and below:

Castro, Roy Hopeful San Antonio Will Get A Direct Flight To Washington, D.C.

San Antonio Express-News

Megan Rodriguez

March 4, 2024

San Antonio could soon get its long-sought direct flight to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro said Monday.

“I think we’re actually going to get it done this year,” the San Antonio Democrat said at a Monday news conference to introduce San Antonio International Airport’s new logo.

“San Antonio is known as Military City USA, as Cyber City USA, and it’s a city that’s on the rise, and that continues to grow,” he said. “So we want to make sure that we get that done.”

Past efforts to get a direct flight from San Antonio to the heart of D.C. have failed because of resistance from supporters of regulations that limit traffic to Reagan, known as the slot rule and the perimeter rule.

The slot rule reduces congestion at Reagan by controlling the number of takeoffs and landings at the airport. The perimeter rule prohibits flights to or from airports outside a 1,250-mile boundary around Reagan.

But the issue is up for debate again as the Federal Aviation Administration works out its congressional reauthorization, which takes place every five years.

Congress was supposed to vote on the reauthorization bill last year, but it has been extended three times.

The most recent extension gives the House and Congress until May 10 to come to a consensus. Both currently have their own versions of the bill with differences that need to be ironed out.

In February, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved its five-year FAA reauthorization bill, which included five extra slots for Reagan. (The total is down from the 28 new nonstop flights to Reagan that some House lawmakers pushed for last year.)

In July, the House of Representatives voted down an amendment to the bill that would have added seven daily round-trip direct flights to Washington from airports outside the perimeter.

Despite that vote, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, who also spoke at the Monday news conference, said the five extra slots that the Senate supported could end up in the final reauthorization bill.

If San Antonio wins approval for a direct flight to Reagan, the next step will be landing an airline to fly from San Antonio to D.C. Roy said discussions with carriers have already begun.

“We’re feeling good, but we still have work to do to get it across the finish line,” the Republican lawmaker told reporters.

Roy and Castro were two of eight members of Congress who signed a letter last year to the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of a direct route to the D.C. airport from San Antonio.

Sen. Ted Cruz has also been a major supporter of a direct flight to Reagan. He’s a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

In September, he said that if the Senate was able to get long-distance flights added to the reauthorization bill that the House will come around and do the same.

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.