RELEASE: CAA Commends Introduction Of Bipartisan Legislation To Make Air Travel To Nation’s Capital More Affordable And Accessible

The Direct Capital Access Act Introduced By U.S. Representatives Hank Johnson And Burgess Owens Will Allow Additional Daily Flights To And From Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

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Washington, D.C. – The Capital Access Alliance (CAA) today commended the introduction of The Direct Capital Access Act, known as The DCA Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Burgess Owens (R-UT). The DCA Act would make air travel to the Washington, D.C. region more affordable and accessible by authorizing 28 additional in- and beyond-perimeter flights to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to be divided among airlines that serve DCA. DCA is currently the only airport in the country governed by an outdated federal regulation, established by Congress, known as the “perimeter rule,” which limits the number of flights that can land or take off each day outside a 1,250-mile radius.

“We commend Representatives Johnson and Owens for their leadership in working to modernize this outdated federal regulation,”said CAA spokesperson Brian Walsh. “Washington, D.C. is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, our nation’s capital and the seat of our government, yet affordable access to the capital region is still out of reach for millions of Americans, particularly in western states, because of this outdated, federally imposed rule.”

Only seven airlines are currently authorized to operate just 20 daily round trips to 10 beyond-perimeter destinations to/from DCA. Based on its April schedule, DCA has roughly 437 daily departures, meaning just 4.5 percent of those flights are “beyond-perimeter.” Even if 28 additional flights were added per day, and all of them were authorized for beyond-perimeter destinations, only 10 percent of DCA’s daily departures would still go beyond 1,250 miles. The DCA Act provides an equal number of flights to the domestic air carriers that service DCA which in turn benefits communities in and out of the perimeter.

“This is an issue for Congress to solve, and the time to do it is this year,” continued Walsh. “Increasing the number of flights to and from DCA each day will benefit countless communities and consumers in western states by making air travel more efficient and affordable. We urge the full U.S. House to support the inclusion of The DCA Act in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill later this year.”

Since its launch just two weeks ago, CAA has continued to grow, with organizations such as the Salt Lake Chamber, El Paso International Airport, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the American Latino Veterans Association, among others, all joining the coalition. On Friday, Julian Cañete, president and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC), which represents more than 815,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in California, also published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Daily News outlining how the perimeter rule “leaves Californians with extremely limited and extremely expensive access to DCA.”

Additional Background:

One of the country’s top management consulting firms recently released an extensive, 100-page study of the DCA perimeter rule and found that it is “no longer effective nor required to meet its stated objectives.” Among the study’s other findings:

  • Air travel has increased 10-fold over the past 60 years, and 95 percent of the country’s beyond-perimeter markets are underserved.
  • The perimeter rule results in less competition, costing consumers more than $500 million annually in above-average flight prices. In fact, Washington D.C. has the most expensive domestic ticket prices compared across the top 10 U.S. metropolitan areas.
  • Also, DCA is underutilizing its capacity compared to all airports in those same top 10 U.S. metropolitan areas and has the capacity to add dozens of additional roundtrip flights per day.
  • Metropolitan areas not impacted by the perimeter rule have higher direct connectivity rates and provide higher levels of in-perimeter access. The perimeter rule costs $200 million in lost productivity due to more frequent connections.
  • The perimeter rule costs the Washington, D.C. region $290 million in federal and state tax revenue and approximately 5,500 lost jobs due to less incoming traffic.
  • The perimeter rule results in DCA emitting the highest CO2 footprint per passenger among airports of the top U.S. metropolitan areas.

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.