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 Home > News & Policies > October 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 2, 2001

Opening Reagan National Airport Fact Sheet
Opening Ronald Reagan National Airport

Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) will reopen on Thursday, October 4th for commercial operations. On Thursday shuttle service to New York and Boston will resume, and flights to the other six cities will begin as soon as the new security measures are in place -- which could be as early as Thursday. Resumption of flights at DCA will take place in phases over an initial two-month period and extraordinary security measures will be in place for all approved flights. The President has identified the initial two phases that will lead to a resumption of normal commercial operations, with details of subsequent stages to be announced after review of initial flight operations.

Phase I. Initial Shuttle and Hub Connections (Duration: approximately 3 weeks)

  • Extraordinary security measures -- the most exacting in the nation -- in place at DCA and all connecting terminals at connecting airports (see below).
  • Commercial airlines only.
  • Flights to eight hub airports served by six airlines, with slot restrictions determined by the Department of Transportation. The service will include:
  • New York LaGuardia -- Delta Shuttle and US Airways Shuttle
  • Boston -- Delta Shuttle, US Airways Shuttle and American
  • Atlanta -- Delta and US Airways
  • Pittsburgh -- US Airways
  • Chicago -- American and United
  • Dallas -- American and Delta
  • Minneapolis -- Northwest
  • Newark -- Continental
  • Aircraft size is limited to 156 seats or less.
  • Operations at DCA only between 7a.m. and 10p.m.

Phase I will allow approximately 190 flights-per-day (24 percent of the 792 scheduled commercial flights prior to 9/11).

Phase II. Expanded Hub Connection (Duration: 30-45 days following Phase I)

  • All Phase I operations and operational requirements remain in effect, with the exception that the number of flights to each location may increase to previously scheduled levels.
  • Direct flights to an additional 10 cities (18 total), with locations to be determined.

If preexisting schedules were resumed, Phase II would allow approximately 450 flights-per-day (57 percent of the 792 scheduled commercial flights prior to 9/11).

Enhanced Security Measures

Security will be strengthened in numerous ways by the FAA, the Department of Defense, the Secret Service, other law enforcement agencies, the airport authorities and airlines. Many of the security measures will be visible and many will not. Examples of new security measures include:

  • Implementing the Federal Air Marshals program for DCA air traffic.
  • Limiting passengers carry-on baggage to one bag plus one personal item (a purse or briefcase).
  • Random hand-wanding of passengers at the gate.
  • Identification check and boarding pass match as passengers board aircraft.
  • Departures to DCA from approved cities allowed only from pre-designated, specially secured gates
  • Expanded police and canine patrols of the secure areas.
  • Enhanced scrutiny of vehicles and employees that enter the air operations area.
  • Flight crews dedicated to DCA only, with mandatory pre-flight screening of crews.
  • Requiring straight-line flight approaches and departures, temporarily discontinuing the "river visual approach" used to mitigate noise.
  • DCA will implement a public security awareness program.