Manchin comes out against longer flights from Reagan National Airport 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is speaking out against changes to the perimeter and slot rules at Reagan National Airport (DCA) that currently limit how many flights go in and out of the airport as well as the distance of those trips.  

In a letter to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who serve as chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, respectively, Manchin said the proposed amendments to the rules within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2023 would “create real and serious concern over continued daily service from regional airports to our nation’s capital.”  

Designed to manage congestion at the airport, a perimeter rule of 1,250 miles limits traffic at DCA, which categorizes itself as “short-haul” airport, according to its website. The slot rules limit the number of arrivals and departures at DCA.  

Manchin argued the perimeter and slot rules manage traffic while reducing noise pollution for the nation’s capital.

“Changing the Perimeter Rule would come at the expense of small- and medium-sized communities within DCA’s perimeter, including those in my home State of West Virgnia,” Manchin said. “Its role in the Washington area’s airport system allows DCA to serve regional airports with shorter flights and smaller aircraft.”  

Calling Reagan a “space-constrained airport,” Manchin said increasing the number of long-haul flights means “other flights must be eliminated to make room.” Manchin cited findings from the Metropolitan Washington Airport, which concluded “smaller inside-perimeter cities including some state capitals” were at risk of losing nonstop connections to DCA if the proposed changes pass.  

Manchin echoed the concerns of other D.C.-area Democrats, who argued in a Washington Post op-ed piece last month that metro D.C. already has two other nearby airports including Dulles International Airport and the Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), which both have bigger perimeters than Reagan.  

In a joint letter to lawmakers obtained by Punchbowl News Sunday, the CEOs of Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines expressed similar opposition to the changes.  

The House of Representatives is expected to consider the reauthorization of the FAA this week.  

Tags DCA Joe Manchin Maria Cantwell PERIMETER RULES Reagan National Airport Senate Commerce SLOT RULES Ted Cruz

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