Press Club

Local Opposition to Long-Haul DCA Flights

“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.”

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