Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Virgin America have all scheduled August start dates for their new “beyond perimeter” services from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to destinations beyond the 1,250-mile radius to which U.S. law restricts most flights from the airport.
Together with Southwest Airlines (which the Department of Transportation awarded a pair of slots for daily service from Washington Reagan National Airport (IATA code DCA) to Austin in Texas), Alaska, JetBlue and Virgin America won DOT slot-exemption approval on May 14 for beyond-perimeter flights as new entrants to, or minor incumbents in, the DCA market.
In each case, the airline was granted one pair of slots daily – one slot for take-off from and one for landing at DCA – for its proposed beyond-perimeter service from DCA, allowing a daily service to its planned destination. Seven airlines in all had competed for the four pairs of new-entrant/minor-incumbent slots.
Alaska Airlines won its pair of exempt slots for its planned service from DCA to Portland, Oregon. JetBlue won its pair for its proposed service to San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico.
Virgin America won its slot pair for its application to fly from DCA to San Francisco, the same destination which DCA incumbent United Airlines chose to serve from Reagan National using its pair of newly awarded beyond-perimeter slots.
The DOT also awarded another four pairs of beyond-perimeter slots to existing major incumbents at Washington Reagan National Airport. American, Delta, United and US Airways all were awarded pairs of slots.
Southwest Airlines will be the first of the four non-incumbents to begin its DCA beyond-perimeter service, its daily flight to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport beginning on July 8. Southwest announced its DCA service launch date last week.
Virgin America will be the first of the other three, its daily service from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to DCA beginning on August 14.
San Francisco-based Virgin America has launched a “Virgin America Goes to Washington” fare sale across its network to promote the new service, with short-haul flights from $89 one-way and SFO-DCA one-way fares from $209, including taxes and fees and with restrictions applying. Tickets are available for purchase at www.virginamerica.com and at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN.
Unde the promotion, tickets must be purchased by 11:59 p.m. CDT on May 31. All Main Cabin fares are one-way and require a 14-day advance purchase. Travel using the promotional fares must occur between August 14 and October 17, 2012.
Virgin America’s SFO-DCA flight will depart SFO daily at 8:00 a.m. and arrive at DCA at 4:05 p.m. local time. The westbound flight will depart DCA daily at 5:00 p.m. and arrive in San Francisco at 7:40 p.m. local time.
The new DCA service will complement Virgin America’s existing service between SFO and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). The airline currently has four daily nonstop flights between SFO and IAD.
JetBlue Airways, Puerto Rico’s largest carrier in terms of seats offered to and from the island, will begin its daily “capital to capital” service from Washington Reagan National to San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU) on August 23.
To promote the service, JetBlue is selling one-way tickets from $109 each way today through June 6 at www.jetblue.com/new, for travel between August 23 and November 14, 2012. The fare includes government taxes and fees and is for flights on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only. A 14-day advance purchase is required.
The route will be JetBlue’s 14th destination from San Juan and will operate from JetBlue’s new facilities in Terminal A at Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport.
JetBlue’s proposed schedule between Washington D.C. and San Juan calls for its daily flight to depart DCA at 8:50 a.m. and land at SJU at 12:34 p.m. In the other direction, the daily flight is timed to leave SJU at 5:55 p.m. and touch down at DCA at 9:44 p.m. JetBlue will operate its DCA-SJU service with Airbus A320s.
Alaska Airlines will start service between Portland International Airport in Oregon (PDX) and Washington National on August 28.
To promote the new service, Alaska Airlines is offering one-way fares from $159 on the route. The introductory rate is available for tickets purchased by June 13, for travel from August 28 to November 7, 2012.
Tickets are available for purchase on www.alaskaair.com or by calling 1-800-ALASKAAIR (800-252-7522 or TTY/TDD line 800-392-0228).
Members of Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan can also earn double miles on the new nonstop flights from August 28 through October 29, 2012. To qualify, customers must first register at www.alaskaair.com.
Alaska Airlines’ Portland-Washington National schedule calls for its flight to leave PDX at 9:30 a.m. and touch down at DCA at 5:40 p.m. local time. In the other direction, the flight is timed to depart DCA at 5:10 p.m. and to reach PDX at 7:55 p.m. local time.
No other carrier currently provides nonstop service to Reagan National from Portland International Airport. Alaska Airlines currently operates three other daily non-stop flights to Reagan National: two from Seattle and one from Los Angeles. All are beyond-perimeter services.
Alaska Airlines will operate its DCA-PDX flights with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, accommodating 16 passengers in first class and 141 in the main cabin.