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May 25, 2023

Local Representatives Strongly Oppose Increased DCA Traffic

Credit: ARL Now

Members of Congress representing Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia today wrote to leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to express strong local opposition to “any changes to the current High Density (‘Slot’) and Perimeter rules at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (‘National’).”

Their letter followed recent, local opposition to proposed changes to weaken the slot and perimeter rule from the DCA Community Noise Working Group, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and the president of Washington Metro Airports Authority, which operates the airport.

The letter was signed by Rep. Don Beyer (VA-8), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), and Reps. Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Steny Hoyer (MD-5), Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2), David Trone (MD-6), Abigail Spanberger (VA-7), Jamie Raskin (MD-8), John Sarbanes (MD-3), Kweisi Mfume (MD-7), Jennifer McClellan (VA-4), Bobby Scott (VA-3), and Glenn Ivey (MD-4).

They wrote:

“National and Washington Dulles International Airport (“Dulles”) operate as an integrated system of federally owned assets. National was never intended to be a long-haul airport. The dual airport system was crafted with this is mind to accommodate limited land and runways at National. Dulles occupies 11,830 acres while National is just 860 acres. Acknowledging the physical limitations and community impacts of aircraft noise at National, Congress mandated the Slot and Perimeter rules.

“National is currently designed to accommodate 15 million passengers annually. Last year, the airport set a record of 24 million passengers. Regarding safety, at its current level of activity, National already experiences an above average number of missed approaches and early turnouts because of weather, high demand, airfield layout, and runway length. Additional daily flights would likely increase the number of missed approaches and early turnouts, disrupting an already complicated airspace and impacting safety.

“Our priority should be the safety and efficiency of flights, not the personal convenience of a comparatively small number of powerful and well-connected individuals. No Member of Congress appreciates another representative meddling with the assets in their state or district. We, too, strongly oppose any attempts by other Members and special interest groups to dictate operations at these airports for their own personal convenience at great cost to our communities and constituents.”

Full text of the letter follows below and a signed copy is available here.