Citizens' groups and local politicians seeking to cut traffic at National Airport yesterday condemned a recent proposal by about 20 airlines to allow 50 more flights there on weekdays.
They told a Department of Transportation task force studying the airport's future that the airlines' proposal violates the intent of a traffic and noise policy put into force at the airport in 1981.
"We find nothing of any value in this whatsoever that warrants serious consideration," said Fred Wood of the Arlington County Civic Federation. Instead, Wood proposed a freeze on traffic at the federally owned facility, followed by a phased reduction.
The airlines proposed allowing airliner takeoffs and landings to rise from 555 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day to 605 in that period on weekdays. Service would be cut below current levels between 9 and 10 p.m. and weekend flights would be subject to new restrictions.
The airlines contend that the rise is necessary to accommodate new carriers seeking rights to operate at National. Under the plan, companies that wish to start National service after the increase takes effect would have to buy landing rights from other carriers.
Area politicians speaking out against the proposal at yesterday's meeting included: D.C. City Council member H.R. Crawford, who is also president of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments; Alexandria Mayor Charles Beatley, and Arlington County Board member Mary Margaret Whipple.
Eric Bernthal, president of the citizens' Coalition on Airport Problems, called the request for more flights "simply outrageous," adding: "We've got to shift the traffic from National out to Dulles and this doesn't do it."
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole saying the airlines' proposal "subverts the intent of the current policy."