Changes in flight activity resulting from legislative loosening of the slot and perimeter rules, combined with airline mergers and commercial transactions, have led to significant congestion and stress on Reagan National’s facilities. As a consequence, airline growth at Dulles International has declined as carriers have shifted flights from Dulles International to Reagan National. Since 2000, domestic passengers at Reagan National have grown by 31%, while Dulles has declined 9%. Since 2012, domestic passengers at Reagan National have grown by 5.5%, while Dulles declined by 7.2%. That decline in domestic traffic at Dulles International is, in part, directly attributable to changes made by Congress to the operational rules at Reagan National. Any further loosening of the existing slot and perimeter rules will exacerbate the imbalance between the region’s important airport assets.
Changes to existing law should not be made unilaterally by Congress, but rather through the mutual agreement of all parties concerned.