In Case You Missed It: Supporters Of Affordable Access To Washington, D.C. Address Misleading Claims On Adding Flights At DCA
In case you missed it, supporters of making air travel more affordable and accessible to the Washington, D.C. region are correcting the record in response to a series of misleading statements regarding the bipartisan Direct Capital Access Act (H.R. 3185) and adding more direct flights to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) recently partnered with United Airlines on a new “coalition” aimed at blocking more competition at Washington D.C.’s airports and both are actively working to mislead lawmakers and the public. In response, CAA this week launched ProtectRegionalAirportsFacts.com, a new website aimed at correcting the record and outlining the facts about modernizing the 1960s era perimeter rule.
CAA spokesperson Brian Walsh penned a letter to the editor (LTE) in the Lincoln Journal Star (NE) to set the record straight after an op-ed by a local elected official inaccurately assessed the impacts of adding in- and beyond-perimeter flights to DCA. “The legislation in question (H.R. 3185) would simply authorize up to 28 additional flights, both in and beyond the perimeter, out of DCA in order to give air travelers more choices, lower ticket prices and more access to our nation’s capital,” wrote Walsh.
In an interview with WLBT-TV (Jackson, MS), Walsh reinforced that The DCA Act would only add to existing routes. “This bill would authorize adding on top of all of the existing flights, up to 28 additional flights. Ultimately, the only way a flight gets canceled from Jackson is if American Airlines chooses to cancel it,” Walsh explained.
Separately, an LTE in the Loudoun Times-Mirror, a county small business owner also pushed back on a pro-United op-ed that mischaracterized adding flights to DCA as harmful to Loudoun County. “Adding more long-distance flights at DCA would help lower travel costs for Loudoun businesses and families,” wrote Nicole Sutton.
In The Washington Post, Tinh D. Phan, founder and chairman of the Virginia Asian Chamber of Commerce, also set the record straight following insinuations that additional flights at DCA would only serve Members of Congress from beyond-perimeter states. “To argue that modernizing the perimeter rule is nothing more than a perk for members of Congress is an affront to the American consumer, and denying affordable access is essentially geographical elitism,” penned Phan.
Read the entire LTE in the Loudoun Times-Mirror HERE and below:
Read the entire LTE in the Lincoln Journal Star HERE and below:
Read the entire LTE in The Washington Post HERE and below:
Read the entire story in WLBT-TV HERE and below:
Sutton: More Flights At DCA Will Reduce Travel Costs For Loudoun Families And Businesses
May 26, 2023
While I appreciate Tony Howard’s leadership at the Loudoun Chamber, his recent op-ed regarding the perimeter rule at Reagan National Airport (DCA) couldn’t be more wrong. As a small business owner and travel agent in Loudoun County, I help families and businesses across the county with their travel plans.
Adding more long-distance flights at DCA would help lower travel costs for Loudoun businesses and families. With only a limited number of flights from DCA to western states, the entire D.C. region must travel to Dulles to secure one of the premium priced flights for non-stop flights to cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Denver, Las Vegas, San Antonio among others.
It is simple economics. Increasing competition and providing additional flights at DCA will reduce the price of long-haul trips at Dulles, saving Loudoun families and business travelers money.
A recent study by Boston Consulting Group found Washington D.C. has the most expensive domestic ticket prices with less competition costing consumers more than $500 million annually in above-average flight prices. It also found that low supply-demand ratio also forces passengers to connect more frequently, costing them $200 million in lost productivity.
Our county chamber of commerce should be prioritizing Loudoun’s small businesses and residents, not the special interests of MWAA and United Airlines who currently has a monopoly on their expensive long-haul flights at Dulles.
Nicole Sutton, Leesburg
Letter: Air Service Column Missed Mark
Lincoln Star Journal
June 1, 2023
As the spokesperson for a national coalition — Capital Access Alliance — that includes businesses and chambers of commerce from across the country, and is urging Congress to modernize the antiquated perimeter rule that governs flights to and from Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA), I would like to set the record straight regarding a May 26 Local View column by state Sen. Loren Lippincott, “Keep access to D.C. airport.”
Respectfully, it appears Sen. Lippincott has been misled by opponents of the legislation currently before Congress because, in short, it would have absolutely no impact on current air travel service between Nebraska and Washington, D.C.
The legislation in question (HR3185) would simply authorize up to 28 additional flights, both in and beyond the perimeter, out of DCA in order to give air travelers more choices, lower ticket prices and more access to our nation’s capital. Note, it would actually add more flights and not replace flights like the current direct flight to/from DCA to Omaha.
Unfortunately, some in our nation’s capital region are seeking to block more competition and consumer choices, which would result in lower costs and more flight options for air travelers.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue directly with Sen. Lippincott or other elected leaders in the Cornhusker State who have questions, and we would encourage them to reject this misinformation campaign and support air travelers having more choices at lower prices.
Brian Walsh, Arlington, Virginia
Letters To The Editor
The Washington Post
Tinh D. Phan
June 2, 2023
“Convenience and affordability for me, not for thee” appears to be an emerging theme as opponents of the 1966 federal perimeter rule seek to block millions of Americans from affordable air travel to D.C.
Opponents are misconstruing the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s (MWAA) governance over Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Reagan National Airport (DCA) as local control. They’re misleading the public to believe that congressional proposals to change to perimeter rule are somehow federal intrusion.
The federal government owns both airports, and it was Congress that established the perimeter rule in the first place. It’s illogical to support maintaining the perimeter rule as Congress created it yet say that Congress shouldn’t interfere. If opponents truly wanted Congress to stay out of DCA’s operations, a more modern policy would let IAD and DCA operate like other airports in the country and give consumers more control over their travel.
It must also be made clear that the bipartisan Direct Capital Access Act (DCA Act) would add 28 new routes both inside and outside of the perimeter. Claims that flights to in-perimeter markets would be replaced by long-haul flights to the West Coast are categorically false. To the contrary, consumers will benefit from even more direct flights and more affordable airfare through increased supply and competition.
A new survey of Virginia voters shows 76 percent support efforts to lower ticket prices and modernize the perimeter rule. In Northern Virginia, voters oppose the current perimeter rule by a 2-to-1 margin. Investments at DCA, including its $1 billion expansion, have served the D.C. region well. The same voter survey shows that convenience and affordability are primary drivers for Virginians when it comes to air travel, and updating this outdated regulation would enhance both for travelers who prefer DCA.
To argue that modernizing the perimeter rule is nothing more than a perk for members of Congress is an affront to the American consumer, and denying affordable access is essentially geographical elitism. The DCA Act would enable people to travel the country without prohibitively high costs.
Tinh D. Phan, Vienna
‘It’s Purely Additive’; Some Advocates Say Jackson Will Not Lose Flight To Washington, D.C.
WLBT (Jackson, MS)
June 1, 2023
Heated debates happened in Washington, D.C. over a bill that would eliminate the “Perimeter Rule” around the Reagan National Airport.
Wednesday, those against the bill told 3 On Your Side that Mississippi travelers would be at risk of losing the only direct flight to the nation’s capital.
According to Brian Walsh with Capital Access Alliance, that wouldn’t be the case.
“This would, in no way, impact Jackson or other regional airports in terms of losing flights or swapping flights out,” Walsh said.
Capital Access Alliance is a coalition of businesses and organizations from around the county, specifically located outside of the current DCA perimeter who support the bill and want the perimeter rule to be abolished.
The Perimeter Rule currently only allows airports within 1,250 miles of the Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. to have a direct flight to them.
If dropped, Walsh says cities out west like Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; and Salt Lake City, Utah, would also be allowed to land at DCA.
“This bill would authorize adding on top of all of the existing flights, up to 28 additional flights. Ultimately, the only way a flight gets canceled from Jackson is if American Airlines chooses to cancel it,” Walsh explained.
Mississippi travelers like George Pickett say there’s economic and educational value in each state having a direct flight to D.C.
“It’s possible to go to Washington, [D.C.] and leave here at 6 a.m., get to Reagan at about 9:30 a.m., have an afternoon full of meetings, and then leave there at 7:55 p.m. and be home the same night,” Pickett explained. “So, it is a tremendous convenience.”
“There was a group of about 20 high school kids, and they were so excited to get to go to Washington and see how their nation’s capital operates,” he continued.
As far as the argument against available space for flights at DCA, Walsh says new developments at DCA should help.
“Eighteen months ago, they completed a $1 billion terminal expansion at DCA that was specifically designed to support thousands of more passengers,” Walsh said. “So, I think it raises the question of, you know, ‘Which is it?’ And I think we know the truth, which is that DCA does have the capacity to add more flights to have more passengers. The bureaucracy running the airports, though, is resisting that.”
JMAA released the following statement regarding the possible changes to the perimeter rule after Wednesday’s article.
“The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority is aware of potential rule changes that could affect routes to and from Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. At this time, there is no definitive change that would affect Jackson.
Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International has been well-served for many years with the only nonstop between Mississippi and DCA, allowing travelers from the Jackson capital region easy access to the most convenient airport in the nation’s capital. We will continue working closely with our airline partner, American Airlines, to ensure Jackson remains an integral part of their Reagan National nonstop network.”- LSherie Dean – JMMA Communications Director
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.