New Data Reaffirms Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) Leads Region’s Airports In On-Time Performance

DCA’s On-Time Performance Also Ranks Among The Top Five Airports In North America, Contradicting False Claims That The Airport Is Over Capacity 

Washington, D.C. – The Capital Access Alliance (CAA), a coalition of transportation and business leaders from Virginia and around the country seeking to make air travel to and from Washington, D.C., more accessible and affordable, highlighted an article in The Washington Post that noted Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s (DCA) exceptional performance in on-time arrivals. 

This data again contradicts misleading claims made by United Airlines and its allies at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) that DCA is at capacity and unable to handle additional flights. With control of roughly 70 percent of the gates at Dulles International Airport (IAD), United has been leading a lobbying effort to block more competition in the D.C. marketplace by maintaining the federal perimeter rule that has governed air traffic at DCA since 1966.  DCA is the only airport in the country still subject to a federal perimeter rule. 

Citing data from OAG, a leading global travel data provider, DCA ranks within the top five airports in North America, with a nearly 80 percent on-time arrival rate, and is the highest-performing airport in the Washington, D.C. region.

“Once again, hard data undercuts the false claims made by opponents who want to maintain the status quo and preserve United Airlines’ government-sponsored competitive advantage in the marketplace. They want you to believe that DCA is overburdened and overcapacity, but the facts prove otherwise,” said CAA Spokesperson and Northern Virginia resident Brian Walsh. “Even during the record-setting holiday travel season last year, reports showed that travel at DCA went smoothly. It’s clear there has been a positive return on the money invested in improving DCA’s infrastructure and accommodating more passengers, including the $1 billion Project Journey.”

“The reality is that the outdated federal perimeter rule is limiting consumer choice, and travelers who want to visit Washington, D.C., are burdened with the most expensive airfare in the nation. The opposition’s arguments against more flights are not about added congestion or safety. It’s simply about protecting one airline from competition so it can maintain its monopoly. Members of Congress should rely on the data and what numerous experts have confirmed and authorize more flights at DCA. It’s time to put the best interests of consumers first,” Walsh concluded.

Aviation experts agree that adding more flights is more than feasible at DCA. In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta wrote, “Federal Aviation Administration data reveals there are multiple blocks of time each day when runway and airspace capacity exceeds demand so that air-traffic control could safely and efficiently handle more flights.

Todd Jacobson, 30-year FAA veteran and certified professional air traffic controller, echoed DCA’s ability to expand flight options in an op-ed in The Hill, saying, “As someone who spent his entire career ensuring airplanes could land and take-off safely, I can say with certainty that DCA can handle more capacity.”

Congress has until March to pass the FAA Reauthorization bill. A bipartisan proposal before the U.S. Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation would modernize the perimeter rule by adding a modest number of in- and beyond-perimeter flights. More flights would increase competition and consumer choice in the Washington, D.C. air travel market. CAA urges Congress to support strengthening affordable access to the national capital region.

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.