FAA Reauthorization Adds New Flights at DCA

FAA Reauthorization Adds New Flights at DCA


U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Bobby Scott (VA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued a statement today blasting the inclusion of a provision to add new flights at DCA in the FAA Reauthorization bill despite the House’s previous rejection of the same provision.

DCA’s primary runway is the busiest in the United States. One in five DCA flights is delayed, with an average delay of over an hour and one of the highest cancellations rates among the nation’s busiest airports. 

Local congressional leaders, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which operates DCA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) have all warned that adding more traffic at the airport would raise safety concerns following a recent near collision. More flights could lead to increased delays and cancellations.

Local reps statement:

“The passage of a provision to increase congestion and delays at DCA is Congress at its worst.

“The House rejected this measure with a bipartisan vote, and its authors were so sure they would lose a floor vote in the Senate that they barred all amendments, including a proposal to ensure the added flights were not dangerous. In a shameful moment for the Senate, the majority will of both chambers was overruled in a backroom deal that put special interests above the safety and convenience of millions of Americans. 

“The local community was not allowed a say as changes were forced on our region. … 

“Every federal and regional entity involved in operations at DCA – DOT, the FAA, and MWAA – warns of negative impacts for safety, delays, and cancellations from these changes. Ignoring these warnings is foolish and dangerous. We strenuously object to added traffic at DCA, which is already dramatically over capacity.”

A bipartisan majority in the House voted to reject a proposal to increase flights at DCA last year, but the measure was added back to the FAA Reauthorization bill in the Senate Commerce Committee. Senate party and Commerce Committee leadership prevented any amendments from receiving a vote, with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) going so far as to object to consideration of an amendment offered by Virginia’s Senators that would have required safety approval from the Department of Transportation for the increased flights.