In Case You Missed It: Support Grows Among In-Perimeter States As Elected Officials Voice Support For Added Flights To And From DCA

In case you missed it, two op-eds this week in Tennessee and Michigan showcase the growing support from in-perimeter states for the bipartisan Direct Capital Access Act (The DCA Act).

Robby Moore, mayor of Lobelville, Tennessee, penned an op-ed in The Tennessee Star calling the federal perimeter rule at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) outdated, resulting in constrained access, limited flight options, prolonged travel times and increased ticket costs.

Citing data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Moore emphasizes that DCA has untapped flight capacity because of current underutilization of airport time slots. Moore notes the feasibility of adding more flights beyond the perimeter to meet the current demand without compromising existing flights.

As air travel demand grows, the antiquated perimeter rule has become increasingly problematic. Moore urges, “It’s time to lift DCA perimeter limits, thereby expanding the number of long-distance cities that have direct flights to and from DCA while greatly reducing the price of tickets, relieving travel times and making our nation’s capital more accessible to all.”

In Michigan, State Representative Albas Farhat (HD-3) published an op-ed in The Detroit News calling on Michigan Senators to focus on consumers first. He notes how the outdated regulation has resulted in Washington, D.C. having the highest ticket prices among the nation’s top metropolitan areas.

Rep. Farhat points out how much the airline industry has changed since the 1960s and urges Congress to take advantage of the bipartisan legislation introduced to authorize more flights to and from DCA. The reforms, he continues, would not threaten existing regional routes and could potentially add new flights at the Detroit Metro Airport. Rep. Farhat calls on Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to “support this important step to finally modernize DCA’s outdated perimeter rule.”

Read Mayor Moore’s entire piece HERE and below.

Read Rep. Farhat’s entire piece HERE and below:

Commentary: Get Outdated Regulations Off The Books To Allow Americans To Access Nation’s Capital
Tennessee Star (Op-ed)
Robby Moore
July 7, 2023

The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is the only airport in the country that operates under limited federal perimeters. This limitation unnecessarily constrains the general public’s access to flights while simultaneously increasing costs of tickets.

DCA, unlike other airports in the United States, has a federally mandated limit on the number of flights that are allowed in and out of the airport if travelling 1,250 miles or more. This constraint creates an imbalance between supply and demand, leaving travellers to face the repercussions of limited flights, limited flight times, lost productivity due to the need to make flight connections and increased costs.

Contrary to some public opinion, DCA is in the position to address the high demand and increase its capacity and flight availability without threatening the quality of services the airport already provides. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), reports that there are three times slots that are being underused that would allow DCA to add 12 new flights per hour. This would total to more than 28 flights being added to the three identified time periods. Another source that corroborates the FAA’s finding is the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO’s report states that DCA is operating beneath the 12 maximum authorized general aviation reservation. Meaning, there are times available to add longer and more direct flights outside the set federal perimeter.

The antiquated federal perimeter, which limits the number of long distance flights to and from DCA dates to the 1960’s. In recent years, flying has become a more attainable form of transportation for most of the American population. This common good, however, is threatened due to this outdated 60 year old policy. It’s time to lift DCA perimeter limits thereby expanding the number of long distance cities that have direct flights to and from DCA, while greatly reducing the price of tickets, relieving travel times and making our nation’s capitol more accessible to all.

As flying becomes more of a common good, it is vital that airports throughout the country have access to the nation’s capital. The limitations that are currently set around DCA are outdated and need to be expanded in order to provide for the increasing public demand. The United States is also based on the idea that the government is run by the people and for the people. However, limited access and increased flight tickets in order to reach our nation’s capital goes against the fundamental idea of allowing the public to influence and make decisions within our country. The time is now to change DCA for the better and allow the citizens easier access to our nation’s capital.

Robby Moore is the Mayor of Lobelville, Tennessee. He was the 2018’s Republican Party Statesman of the Year for the 7th District.

Farhat: Congress Should Modernize Flight ‘Perimeter Rule’

The Detroit News (Op-ed)
Albas Farhat
July 10, 2023

As members of Michigan’s congressional delegation work with their colleagues from across the country this year to pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, I would encourage them to focus on the best interests of consumers first.  

Every year, thousands of Michiganians travel to the nation’s capital, both for business and pleasure. But Washington, D.C., currently has the highest domestic ticket prices among the top metro areas in the country.

A big reason for that is an outdated federal regulation called the “perimeter rule” that currently limits flights in and out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). It was written in the 1960s to address an airline industry that has changed and grown massively in the decades since.

That is why Congress should now take advantage of the opportunity provided by its ongoing FAA update.

Bipartisan legislation that has been introduced in the House and Senate would modernize the perimeter rule and authorize a modest number of in and out of perimeter flights at DCA. This would create more competition and ultimately, lower ticket prices for consumers.

Current regional flights will not be negatively impacted by these reforms. Routes available today will remain that way. In-perimeter destinations like Detroit Metro Airport would potentially gain more flights if this legislation were to pass.

Improved and increased access to our nation’s capital will benefit all Michiganians and open the door to more opportunity for our business leaders, students and families. I urge Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to support this important step to finally modernize DCA’s outdated perimeter rule.

Rep. Alabas Farhat, D-Dearborn, represents Michigan’s 3rd District.

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.