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Local Opposition to Long-Haul DCA Flights

by ARLnow.com July 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm 2,452 8 Comments

“It seems like about every five or six years, a group of senators decide to push the envelope and change the Perimeter Rule,” Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said in a phone interview, referring to the most recent effort by congress to allow more long-haul flights out of Reagan National Airport. “It’s not a new issue.”

Indeed, it’s not. The last time it was attempted was, in fact, June 2008. At that time, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments issued a resolution, stating:

The COG Board of Directors opposes efforts to usurp regional and local authority over airports and reaffirms its position opposing additional slots and perimeter rule changes at Reagan Washington National Airport.

The Council of Government’s position has not changed, spokesman Steven Kania says.

Fisette says he also opposes any federally-imposed changes to the way National Airport is run. He says the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority should be able to manage air traffic as it sees fit, away from federal “meddling.” The airports authority has gone on record opposing the proposed perimeter rule changes.

“They’re the ones who know how to design the regional air transportation system to be the most effective and have the least negative impacts,” Fisette said, adding that Dulles Airport should remain the go-to destination for long-haul flights. He does not, however, expect any action by the County Board, saying Virginia Senators Warner and Webb are best equipped to fight the changes.

Fisette says the possibility of additional noise from larger planes is a another, lesser consideration. But David Sessions of Politics Daily suggests that fear of noise from long-haul flights is unfounded.

Sessions cites the experience of the Dallas-area community groups that protested the lifting of a perimeter rule for Love Field. Sessions says that since the restrictions were removed, fares dropped and  “groups conceded that there had been no change in noise.”

  • Let’s Be Free

    Hey, what about Federal supremacy? Oh, I forgot, that goes only in Arizona.

  • Lou

    Fisette is being a big disingenuous about MWAA managing and balancing air traffic at National. Or maybe he’s misinformed, but DOT through the FAA allocates and distributes the gate slots between airlines. The perimeter restriction itself is a federal mandate through DOT.

    Both Dulles and National are still in fact owned by the federal government. MWAA was merely created to run the operations for the government.

  • Darwin

    As long as TSA still gets to use their equipment to give me a virtual strip search like I’m a terrorist as opposed to a veteran I don’t care what they do with the flights.

  • Mike

    So the CB chimes in on issues that are none of their business, like the Arizona immigration issue, but decide to leave something directly in their own back yard to others?

    What a bunch of morons.

  • Tom

    National seems like an airport that can’t really be expanded to add flights, so any new longer-haul flights I assume would mostly replace existing routes? I don’t really see a big increase in noise if that is true. The replacement of shorter routes might be more problematic for some – and just so a few west-coast Congressmen have a shorter cab ride than to Dulles ? I recently flew National to West Palm Beach. I assume those would be the types of routes that would be replaced ?

  • Doug

    US Airways is the primary operator out of Reagan. Even on their long-haul flights from Philly and Charlotte to the west coast they mostly fly the same A320s, A321s, and 737s that go out of Reagan. There would be no difference in the noise since it’d just be more of the SAME kind of aircraft that already go in/out of Reagan. Plus, the runway isn’t long enough to handle larger aircraft for international flights anyway.

    I doubt its even valid to say that the frequency of take-offs and landings with more flights would increase noise in the surrounding communities since during peak hours there’s already a new plane overhead every 2 minutes.

    I live in Arlington where I can see planes taking off and landing out my bedroom window and the noise never bothers me. Even through my crappy single-pane windows.

    • MB

      National, you mean?

  • While it’s a bit infuriating for congress persons to introduce changes to the Perimeter Rule that are patently self-serving (Sen. Bailey from west Texas wants direct flights to two airports in west Texas), it’s not all negative as the opponents want us to believe. Increase in frequency would mean using currently unused slots and as the other commenters here pointed out, long haul flights do not automatically translate to larger planes being used in those flights. Dulles (and BWI) have grown tremendously these past years (which is one of the objects of the Perimeter Rule). Easing up restrictions at DCA wouldn’t hurt flight volume in those airports.


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