More Long Distance Flights to be Added at Reagan National Airport

With the passage of the new FAA bill in May, Reagan National Airport (DCA) will soon add five new long-distance flights. Reagan National operates on a slot system which limits the number of flights allowed to arrive and depart from the airport each day.   DCA has also operated under a perimeter rule since 1966, restricting airlines to operate flights no longer than 1,250 miles from the airport. As a result, longer transcontinental flights have traditionally operated out of Washington Dulles, the larger of the two airports in the region.

Over the years, DCA has been granted several exceptions, and currently provides up to 20 flights per day to destinations such as Los Angeles, Austin, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. With the five new long-distance slots opening, airlines are vying for the coveted routes. It will be up to the Department of Transportation to approve or deny airlines bidding for the new slots. Airlines have until July 8 to apply for one of the slots with assignments then handed out likely sometime in July.  The DOT has said American, Delta, United, Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska, and Air Canada are eligble to bid for the new slots.

Below are the announced bids expected to be made for the new slots:

●      American Airlines to San Antonio, TX

●      Alaska Airlines to San Diego, CA

●      Delta Air Lines to Seattle, WA (back up bid to Salt Lake City)

●      Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas, NV continuing to Sacramento, CA

●      Spirit Airlines to San Jose, CA

●      United Airlines to San Francisco, CA (back up bid to Los Angeles)

●      JetBlue Airways to San Juan, PR (back up bid to Los Angeles) 

●      Frontier Airlines to San Juan, PR