In Case You Missed It: Northern Virginia Business Leader Outlines Importance Of Additional Flights At DCA In Light Of Proposed Sports Arena

In case you missed it, Susana Marino, founding president and chair of the Northern Virginia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce (NOVAHCC), published an op-ed urging support for additional flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

Marino highlights the recent announcement by Monumental Sports and Governor Glenn Youngkin of a proposed new sports arena and entertainment complex in Alexandria’s Potomac Yards. The prospective location in the shadows of DCA serves as a reminder of the need for increased access to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Marino also cites the economic growth in Northern Virginia, the influx of Fortune 500 companies, and the continued growth that will come if they welcome the Washington Wizards and Capitals to Alexandria.

Finally, Marino writes that she, along with local business leaders and U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, welcome the addition of the Washington Wizards and Capitals and urges the inclusion of additional flights at DCA as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill.

Read the entire piece on LinkedIn HERE and below:

Proposed Potomac Yard Sports Arena Further Illustrates The Need For More Flights At DCA

Susana Marino

January 23, 2024–9hjye/

The proposed Potomac Yard Sports Arena serves as a compelling indicator of the increasing demand for air travel at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). As plans for the sports arena unfold, it becomes evident that the region’s infrastructure must keep pace with the growing requirements of both local residents and visitors. The potential influx of sports enthusiasts, concertgoers, and event attendees to the Potomac Yard area emphasizes the necessity for expanded flight options at DCA beyond the perimeter rule.

This announcement a couple of weeks ago is another testament to Northern Virginia’s growth that should excite residents and the entire capital region. It also reminds us why we need an aviation transportation system that meets our region’s needs for 2024 and beyond. With a sports arena of such magnitude in the pipeline, the demand for convenient and efficient air travel is likely to surge, underscoring the importance of addressing airport capacity and accommodating the anticipated rise in passenger traffic.

It’s an exciting time to be a resident of Northern Virginia. Our region is growing with new economic and exciting opportunities.  According to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Northern Virginia’s gross domestic product (GDP) defined as the marketplace’s monetary measurement of goods and services produced in a specific time and place, grew by 7.45 percent from 2021 to 2022, and the region’s GDP is now larger than that of 24 states.  In fact, if Northern Virginia were a country, it would be the 48th largest economy in the world.

Many Fortune 500 companies also now call NOVA home, including Amazon, which is making a more than $2.5 billion investment in HQ2 and the surrounding area.  The company expects this will result in 25,000 new Amazon jobs over the next decade and thousands of indirect jobs across the region.

The Commonwealth received more good news last month when Governor Glenn Youngkin and Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis, who owns the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, announced plans for the teams to relocate to Alexandria. The Potomac Yard area will feature a new multimillion-dollar sports complex and concert venue, a conference center, and multiple hotels.

Conveniently located right in the center of all this economic activity is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). In fact, it is literally next door to Potomac Yard and National Landing. Whether Amazon employees are flying to/from Seattle, sports teams flying in to play at the new arena, or any number of Americans traveling to and from our national capital region, particularly in relation to business with the federal government, DCA will continue to play a pivotal role in accommodating travelers from near and far.

Unfortunately, DCA is still subject to the outdated federal perimeter rule, which limits the number of direct flights that can travel to and from the airport – particularly beyond 1,250 miles. The lack of competition is why the national capital region has the most expensive airfare of the country’s top metropolitan areas and why needless connections take valuable time from travelers. In fact, it’s a major reason DCA air travelers also have one of the highest carbon footprints in the country because so many of them have to make added connections.

With the construction of this new sports arena, there will soon be roughly 80 or more home games in Virginia per year between the Capitals and the Wizards. That means 80-plus occasions where teams and their fans from across the country will travel to Potomac Yard. And to be clear, this doesn’t include the playoffs, for which all of us will be hoping.

The fact though is the outdated perimeter rule makes travel inconvenient, which is especially true for travelers from the Western part of the U.S. There are only 20 direct flights per day that travel beyond the perimeter. That means teams and fans may have to travel to Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) or Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) – both farther than the short drive from DCA. Fans should be spending their time enjoying the game and their hard-earned money on souvenirs and concessions – not on travel.

Local business leaders like myself join our Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine in celebrating the addition of the Capitals and Wizards to Potomac Yard, as it will bring more jobs and revenue to Northern Virginia. This is welcome news for the thousands of small businesses in our region, many of which are Hispanic owned.

There should be no question, though that adding more affordable, direct flights at DCA will be a critical component – and a study shows that more flights will also create more jobs and millions in tax revenue. Congress can modernize the perimeter rule when it finally addresses the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill in the coming weeks. Adding more in- and beyond-perimeter flights will increase affordable and more direct access to the nation’s capital, which will be key to handling the increased number of travelers seeking to visit Potomac Yard and the rest of Northern Virginia.

In conclusion, the proposed expansion of direct flights to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) beyond the perimeter rule is not just a response to the current needs of the region but a strategic move to align with its future growth and development. The potential establishment of the Potomac Yard Sports Arena is a clear manifestation of the increasing demand for accessibility to the nation’s capital. Congress and the Senate should recognize the economic, cultural, and recreational benefits that an enhanced air travel infrastructure can bring with more direct flights to Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA). In doing so, they would not only meet the present demands but also contribute to the long-term prosperity and accessibility of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

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.