Press Release

DCA Perimeter Rule Grounds Competition

A debate over flights to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) has taken off as part of the broader discussion of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill. In a new insight, Competition Economics Analyst Fred Ashton explains how the rules governing flights in and out of DCA work and makes the case that they no longer serve their intended purpose but instead lead to consumer harm.

Key points:

  • Members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced the Direct Capital Access Act, which proposes adding 56 in- and beyond-perimeter flights at DCA.
  • DCA is currently the only airport in the country subject to a federally imposed perimeter rule that restricts inbound and outbound nonstop flights to a 1,250-mile radius, and just one of five airports governed by a high-density rule to manage congestion.
  • The rules reduce competition among airlines operating at D.C.-area airports resulting in higher ticket prices, longer flight times, increased delays, and fewer choices.

Read the analysis