Daily nonstop from PDX to DCA? Yes, please!

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Yesterday, Alaska Airlines applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval to run a daily nonstop route from Portland International Airport to Washington's National Airport.

Portland and San Diego are the two largest cities markets in America without nonstop service to Washington National. Alaska applied for nonstops for both cities.

Why do they have to apply to DOT? Well, it seems that Congress has approval power of flights in and out of National, and they just approved four additional nonstop flights of more than 1250 miles.

Every member of Oregon's congressional delegation supports the PDX->DCA nonstop, including Senator Ron Wyden. From an Alaska Airlines statement:

"Oregon is one of the most underserved states for air service to and from Washington, D.C.," said U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. "With the technology industry becoming a vital part of Oregon's economy and D.C. being the center of tech policy, increased direct access to Washington can only be a boost to our economic prospects. It is great that Alaska Airlines is bidding to provide this really important service for Oregon businesses and residents."

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has our back as well, especially important as she's the chair of the Senate Aviation Subcommittee:

"Southwest Washington and greater Portland residents should have direct access to their nation's capital," said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and chair of the Senate Aviation Subcommittee. "This direct flight would support business growth and jobs in Southwest Washington and Oregon, and it would make the Pacific Northwest more accessible and attractive to East Coast businesses and tourists. That's one reason I fought hard in the FAA bill to increase western flights to Washington, D.C. I will be following up with the DOT to ensure Alaska Airlines' bid is strongly considered."

The Port of Portland has also weighed in, asking for public support and calling the route their "top domestic air service priority".

So, what can you do? In support of its bid, Alaska Airlines is asking folks to submit comments directly to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Get more info and sample letter here.

(Hat tip to Rep. Jules Bailey, via Twitter.)

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    SFO, OAK, and SJC don't have non-stops to DCA, either.

    The restrictions for flights into DCA are historically linked to beefing up traffic at Dulles (IAD). Similar restrictions exist for LGA as well.

    That being said, non-stops from PDX to DCA would be very welcome, as the journey from BWI and IAD into Washington DC is quite long, and the options are expensive. And of course, non-stops are preferable to connecting flights.

    United has sort of had a monopoly on the PDX-IAD non-stop for years.

    So yes, send in those cards and letters in support of adding these routes. I hope Alaska and other airlines are successful in their quest, as they were in adding the non-stop from SEA to DCA.

    Competition and alternatives are a good thing.

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      SFO, OAK, and SJC don't have non-stops to DCA, either.

      Aha. I just went back and re-read the statements from the Port of Portland and Alaska Airlines:

      Port: Establishing this route is our top domestic air service priority, as we are the second largest market in the U.S. without nonstop service to Washington National, making us an ideal candidate for the route.

      AA: The airline's bid would provide nonstop service from Washington, D.C., to Portland, Ore., and San Diego — the two cities with the largest passenger demand that don't already have flights to National.

      It seems that I conflated "market" size with "city" size. The ninth largest city in America (and second-largest in California), San Jose is certainly bigger than Portland.

      Fixing my post.

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    Thank you for calling it National Airport. The official monniker, a Bush-era creation, has always been annoying.

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      Agreed. It's already named for a president. I refuse to disrespect the father of our country by using a second president's name -- especially one whose most famous aviation-related act was firing all the air traffic controllers.

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        You can call it National or Washington National or Reagan or just DCA but get the history right.

        The airport that it replaced was called the "Washington Hoover" airport. The "Washington" designation referred to the city, not the president.

        The replacement was originally called "Gravelly Point", then the name "National" came into common use. In the 1940 enabling legislation, it was referred to for the first time as "Washington National." Most people continued to refer to it just as "National" as anyone who flew in and out regularly knew.

        The legislation changing the name was passed 240-186 in the House and 76-22 in the Senate. It was signed intolaw by Bill Clinton.

        (the House vote was 222 R Yeas and 18 D Yeas. Only 3 R voted Nay. Gingrich may be an idiot, but Thomas.gov will end up being his greatest contribution!)

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    DeFazio is also on the Aviation Subcommittee on Transportation.

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    This would be wonderful. Please let it happen! I am so tired of having to deal with the added time and money involved with flying into either Dulles or BWI.

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    You'll never save money flying into DCA! BWI plus Marc is still the cheapest, but I definitely agree. Dulles is a major pain on all fronts. Hard to get to and the security lines are a bear. It's an international gateway airport.

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