Senate approves bill to add flights at National Airport

The U. S. Senate approved a plan Friday that would add 24 daily flights at Ronald Reagan National Airport. Twelve of these new flights would be allowed to travel beyond the airport’s 1,250-mile limit.

The increase is the first since the mid-1980s. Reagan National is one of four U.S. airports whose take-offs and landings are regulated because of safety and noise concerns.

The House of Representatives must pass a similar bill in order for the plan to take effect. House members are less willing to increase the number of flights, but lawmakers were predicting Reagan National would see an increase in flights when the bills are settled in a House-Senate conference committee, according to The Washington Post.

The Senate bill includes amendments that would provide $1.8 million to soundproof homes, schools, hospitals and other public buildings under the airport’s flight path.

The Senate bill would add 12 take-offs and landings each day for aircrafts serving small and medium markets within the 1,250-mile radius. The other 12 new flights would serve hub airports in the western United States.

“This bill is clearly in the best interest of the air traveling public and the economy,” Sen. Jon McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a Senate Transportation Committee press release.

According to the press release, only one or two new flights per hour will arrive at the airport.

The bill also ensures local residents will be consulted during an environmental review of the new flights’ effects.

-Helder Gil

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