Virginia, D.C. lawmakers urge keeping current flight levels at Reagan National Airport

Both senators from Virginia and four representatives from Virginia and Washington, D.C. stressed the importance of keeping flight levels stable at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), U.S. Reps. Garry Connolly (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and Delegate Eleanor Nortorn (D-DC) wrote a letter urging Congress to not add flight traffic to the national airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill for 2015 will be up for consideration as the current bill expires in September.

"Changes in flight activity resulting from legislative loosening of the slot and perimeter rules, combined with airline mergers and commercial transactions, have led to significant congestion and stress on Reagan National’s facilities,” the lawmakers said in their letter. “History has shown that increasing slots to beyond-perimeter destinations outside this process results in poor business decisions, anticompetitive behavior and unfair giveaways to one airline over another. Just as you would not want out-of-state members dictating operations at your home state airports, we will strongly oppose efforts to make changes at airports that serve our communities and constituents.”

The lawmakers said that Dulles International Airport is approximately 14 times larger than Reagan National even though domestic traffic out of the latter has increased by 31 percent and traffic at Dulles has declined by 9 percent since 2000.