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Visiting DC from Vegas? Southwest wants to take you closer to the sights

Updated May 21, 2024 - 8:42 am

Southwest Airlines has applied for approval to fly nonstop between Harry Reid International Airport and heavily restricted Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington D.C.

The Dallas-based commercial air carrier, the busiest airline at Reid International, is seeking one of five round-trip flight slots permitted in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024.

Reagan National is restricted by a 1,250-mile perimeter rule that limits the number of flights to the airport from beyond that distance. There are 40 flights that have exemptions to the rule and the new reauthorization adds five round trips to that total.

Currently, only American Airlines offers daily nonstop round trips between Reid and Reagan National.

Reagan National Airport is appealing to airline passengers because of its close proximity to the Capitol.

Other airlines are vying for the new airport flight slots. American Airlines is submitting an application to fly to Reagan National from San Antonio, Texas, and Alaska Airlines has proposed nonstop flights to Washington from San Diego.

Delta Air Lines reportedly is reviewing options for flights.

Southwest said its proposed flight to Washington would originate in Sacramento, California and first stop in Las Vegas to provide one-stop, no-change-of-planes service between California’s capital and the nation’s capital.

“Southwest has a long history of connecting people across the nation with important moments in their lives through competitive airfares, friendly and flexible policies, and the unmatched hospitality of our people,” Southwest President and CEO Bob Jordan said in a release.

Southwest’s proposal is being backed by Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.

“As the chair of the subcommittee overseeing tourism and a member of the aviation subcommittee that helped write the FAA reauthorization bill, I’ve been working to bolster our national travel and tourism industry by increasing the flight slots to and from DCA,” Rosen said in a release. “I’m glad to support Southwest’s application to provide nonstop service between DCA and Harry Reid International Airport because bringing more flights to Las Vegas creates more options for visitors to come to our state and helps sustain critical tourism jobs.”

“Providing this much-needed service between the nation’s capital and the sports and entertainment capital of the world will open up new opportunities for all travelers,” added Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County director of aviation.

Southwest would use its largest aircraft, a twin-engine Boeing 737-800 jet capable of carrying 175 passengers, on the route if approved.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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