Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced their plans to allow Southwest Airlines to temporarily operate a route from Kansas City International Airport (MCI) to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) beginning Feb. 1, 2014. Southwest Airlines recently petitioned for this authority to ensure no interruption of service following Frontier Airlines’ decision to discontinue daily nonstop service beginning Jan. 31, 2014.
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development – welcomed this news:
“The seamless transition following Frontier’s departure is very good news for Kansas City and air travelers in Kansas,” Sen. Moran said. “As the nation’s largest low-cost air carrier and MCI’s largest airline, Southwest is well-suited to provide travelers flying between Kansas City and Washington, D.C., with an affordable travel option. Maintaining access to air service is essential to connecting Kansas businesses to the rest of the country.”
Last fall, Frontier Airlines was sold to private-equity firm Indigo Partners, LLC. The new ownership decided to discontinue its current route exemptions, allocated by the DOT, for daily nonstop service between MCI and DCA. While DOT begins months-long formal proceedings to reallocate the routes, Southwest Airlines will be allowed to fly between MCI and DCA on a temporary basis.
Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest domestic airline with a national route structure, allowing Kansas City to serve as a one-stop/connecting option for travelers flying between Washington, D.C., and other points in the United States.