U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (both D-CA) praised the Department of Transportation’s decision today to award Virgin America a new non-stop round-trip flight from Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO), offering California travelers greater access to the airport closest to our nation’s capital.
Since the passage of the FAA reauthorization bill in February – which included a provision Senators Boxer and Feinstein helped secure to increase the number of direct flights between Reagan National and the West – California has been awarded four new round-trip flights. The other flights offer direct service to San Diego International Airport (US Airways), Los Angeles International Airport (American Airlines) and SFO (United Airlines).
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Senator Boxer said, “Providing more non-stop flights between Reagan National Airport and California is good for consumers and good for California’s economy. The reason I fought to change the law to allow more direct flights into Reagan National was to give travelers more options, reduce travel times and increase competition to help keep fares as low as possible – and today’s announcement will help do just that.”
Senator Feinstein said, “I am delighted to see nonstop service between San Francisco and DCA, which is long overdue. This will provide an expansion of direct service, increase competition between carriers, and potentially reduce prices.”
Senators Boxer and Feinstein both wrote to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in March urging his support for more direct flights to California. California consumers have long been frustrated at restrictions that for decades sharply limited the number of non-stop, long-distance flights in and out of Reagan National Airport.
Before the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was signed into law, San Francisco and San Diego were the two largest markets in the country that lacked direct service to Reagan National. Los Angeles International Airport, the busiest airport on the West Coast, previously had only one non-stop round-trip flight into our nation’s capital.