WASHINGTON – Houston will receive a new daily nonstop round trip to Washington, D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport as a result of action today by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
DOT awarded Southwest Airlines two slot exemptions to operate the new service, which will be the first nonstop service from Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport to Reagan National. The slot exemptions became available when Spirit Airlines moved its Washington area service from Reagan National to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and returned the two slot exemptions that it had been using to serve Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In its decision, DOT said Southwest’s proposal would provide new low-fare service and enhance airline competition in the Reagan National-Houston market. Currently, United Airlines provides the only service between Reagan National and Houston, with flights to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
“Southwest’s service will provide air travelers with a new, low-cost option when they fly between Reagan National and Houston,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
A limited number of exemptions to slot limitations at Reagan National were created by law to promote airline competition and enhance air service to the nation’s capital. One slot or slot exemption is needed for one daily takeoff or landing, and two are required for one round-trip flight.
Also applying for the exemptions at Reagan National were US Airways, which proposed service to Oklahoma City, and JetBlue Airways, which proposed service to Jacksonville, Fla.
DOT’s order requires Southwest to begin its new service by August 5. The Department’s decision, carrier proposals and other documents in the case are available at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2000-7182.