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Four new cities gain flight access to Washington, D.C.

By control on May 16, 2012

Thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which President Obama signed into law in February, four new cities will have flight access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Portland, Ore.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Austin, Texas; and San Francisco will each receive one daily, roundtrip flight to the U.S. capital, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on May 14.

The services to Portland, San Juan, Austin and San Francisco will be performed by Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and Virgin America, respectively. According to a press release, this marks Virgin America’s first time flying to Reagan National, with the other carriers previously only having limited access to the Washington, D.C.-based airport.

Secretary LaHood praised these new flights with providing “convenient, nonstop service” to Washington, D.C., from four key cities. “The flights will [also] increase competition for airlines serving Washington, which can lead to lower fares for consumers,” he added.

The four flights are a direct result of the recently enacted FAA legislation, which created eight daily slot exemptions for carriers with limited or no service to Reagan National to fly farther than 1,250 miles from Washington, D.C. According to the press release, two slots are required for a roundtrip flight.

“The new law also allowed four large carriers already serving Reagan National to exchange a total of eight slots for flights within the perimeter for an equal number of slot exemptions to permit nonstop flights beyond the perimeter,” according to the press release.

American Airlines will switch one roundtrip flight to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with a flight to Los Angeles International Airport, while United Airlines will trade one round-trip flight to Chicago O’Hare International Airport for a flight to San Francisco International Airport. Delta Air Lines and US Airways are also matching changes to their schedules, switching flights to New York LaGuardia Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with flights to Salt Lake City International Airport and San Diego International Airport, respectively.

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