New proposal would add fewer flights at Reagan National than originally proposed

A new compromise proposal under consideration in Congress would add more flights at Reagan National Airport — but far fewer than originally proposed.

The compromise amendment from Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, calls for adding seven round-trip flights at the airport, instead of the 28 that some lawmakers had previously proposed.

Owens argues that current restrictions on the number of flights at the airport stifle competition.

“Each carrier will win an additional route. The biggest winner though, will be the American consumer,” he said during a House Rules Committee meeting Monday night.

Adding flights will give consumers the “best price, best value, best convenience,” Owens said.

Owens later spoke in favor of his amendment on Tuesday, with lawmakers from Georgia and Texas.

Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said she supports the amendment because many federal workers and military personnel in her El Paso district need to travel to D.C.

She noted that right now, the closest airport to her district with a direct flight to Washington is 600 miles away.

“That is unacceptable. It has been unacceptable to my constituents and to all of those who work for the federal government on our behalf,” she said.

The amendment is being taken up as the House considers the FAA reauthorization legislation.

Virginia and Maryland lawmakers have argued against expanding the number of flights at the airport, saying they would add to delays and frustrations for fliers.

Owens said he hopes to get his amendment approved in the House and will work on its behalf when the Senate considers the FAA bill.

Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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