American Airlines granted federal approval to continue nonstop Lansing-Washington, D.C., flights

Nation’s largest air carrier also to maintain Lansing-Chicago service

LANSING – American Airlines has gained federal regulatory approval to continue daily nonstop service between Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport (LAN) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., maintaining a vital and popular link between the state’s and nation’s capitals.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved American’s petition to extend slot exemptions at DCA that allow the nation’s largest air carrier to continue to operate the Lansing-to-D.C. route. The decision comes after more than 1,700 mid-Michigan travelers, governmental officials and business leaders submitted letters to the FAA and U.S. Department of Transportation urging approval of American’s petition after it was filed in January. American will also continue to offer nonstop flights between LAN and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

“We’re happy to report that our voices in the Lansing region were heard loud and clear in Washington, D.C.,” said Wayne Sieloff, president and CEO of the Capital Region Airport Authority. “Our community clearly stated how critical retaining the connection between Michigan’s capital and the nation’s capital was for mid-Michigan travelers and our economy.”
 
American will also continue to offer three daily direct flights between LAN and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
 
Billy Glunz, regional director of government affairs for American Airlines, said that the airline was looking forward to continuing the service. “We’ve been welcomed with open arms in mid-Michigan from the start, and we thank area fliers for their overwhelming response in letting federal regulators know how much they value Lansing-to-D.C. service,” he said.
 
“We are pleased with the decision to continue the Lansing to Washington, D.C., service,” said Tim Daman, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. “Maintaining strong air service plays an important role in our region’s ability to attract and retain business investment and job creation.”
 
American was originally granted an exemption for two slots – one for each the departing flight and arriving flight at DCA – in spring 2016. A slot exemption is the right to take off or land at an airport where operations are limited. 

American Airlines began service between Lansing and Washington, D.C., in July 2016, with service to Chicago commencing in August 2016.

The DCA exemption was slated to expire this month – which was why community leaders in January began rallying support for American Airlines’ extension request.

The slot exemptions just approved by the federal government will expire in October 2019, after which it is expected that American Airlines will have to draw from its regular allotment of DCA slots to accommodate the flights between Lansing and Washington, D.C. That means it’s important for travelers to continue their high usage of this air service, Sieloff said.
 
“Mid-Michigan travelers have already stepped up in supporting American’s service from Lansing, and we’re urging them to keep the momentum going by continuing to use this vital link between mid-Michigan and the East Coast,” said Nicole Noll-Williams, the Lansing airport’s director of customer satisfaction and air service development. “When it comes to maintaining robust air service, it really is a classic matter of ‘use it or lose it.’ It’s more important now than ever for the community to step forward and continue to show American that we support its service.”
  Traffic volumes between LAN and DCA have tripled since the service started, federal data show, with the average airfare paid dropping by 29 percent. Additionally, LAN’s total airport traffic has increased almost 21 percent since American entered the market, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
 
Under American’s daily Lansing-Washington, D.C., schedule, flights depart LAN at 7:25 p.m. and arrive at DCA at 9:07 p.m. Flights from DCA depart at 5:15 p.m. and arrive at LAN at 7 p.m.​
 
American Airlines’ presence at Capital Region International Airport has also greatly expanded travel opportunities for mid-Michigan leisure travelers. From the Washington, D.C., hub, for example, mid-Michigan travelers can make direct connections to more than 20 destinations across the United States served by American. American’s Chicago service provides direct connections to 115 destinations in 11 countries.

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