Schumer, Gillibrand Urge DOT to Support American Airlines’ Proposal to Restart Nonstop Flights Between Islip’s Long Island Macarthur Airport & DC

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Senators: Direct Service Will Ensure Competitive, Low-Fare & Convenient Service for Long Island Travelers.

Washington, DC - April 3, 2014 - U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand today urged the Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve a proposal to create a new direct flight for American Airlines between Long Island MacArthur Airport and Ronald Regan Washington National Airport (DCA). As required by the Justice Department, American Airlines recently divested some of their slots at DCA, however, small communities bore the brunt of those cutbacks in service. Recently, two new slots have become available at DCA and American Airlines submitted an application to DOT requesting the slots to bring back the recently discontinued DCA-ISP connection. Schumer and Gillibrand today urged DOT to allow American Airlines to continue serving Long Island MacArthur Airport and DCA.
 
“Direct service between Long Island MacArthur Airport and our nation’s capital would benefit Long Island commuters, businesses and travelers,” said Schumer. “It’s clear that the initial divestiture impacted small communities like Islip, but now American Airlines can reestablish this direct connection between Long Island and DC, so I am urging the DOT to quickly approve its application.”
 
“We must ensure that passengers in suburban communities, including residents of Nassau and Suffolk, have access to reliable and competitive air service,” said Gillibrand. “Restoring American Airlines service between Long Island’s largest regional airport and Washington, DC will help serve the needs of nearly two million travelers in the immediate area and grow the local economy. I will continue to advocate for more service into MacArthur Airport.” 
 
“The Town of Islip and Long Island MacArthur Airport stands with Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand in support on lobbying the DOT to keep the AA nonstop service to Washington! The residents of Nassau and Suffolk County rely on that service to the Nation’s Capital. The Long Island students, military members and contractors utilize those flights daily and would hurt our region by losing those flights! We cannot thank our Senate Delegation enough for their support with this issue and support of Long Island MacArthur Airport,” said Councilman John Cochrane.
 
In January, after slot divestiture at DCA as required by the Justice Department, American Airlines dropped service between Long Island MacArthur Airport and DCA. The decision was made because of an antitrust lawsuit in response to the American Airlines-U.S. Airways merger.
 
As a result of the dropped service, many small communities were impacted, including the Town of Islip. Two new slots have recently become available and DOT is seeking applications to award the slots on a permanent basis. The new opportunity provides a pathway to return DCA service for one of the deserving small communities whose service as impacted by the slot divestiture—the Town of Islip.
 
Schumer and Gillibrand today urged DOT to quickly approve American Airlines’ application and allow for non-stop service between DCA and Long Island MacArthur Airport. The Senators explained that it would ensure the continuation of competitive, low-fare service for passengers at Long Island MacArthur Airport. Schumer has long supported service between Long Island MacArthur Airport and DCA.
 
A copy of their letter is below:
Dear Secretary Foxx,
 
We write in support of the application submitted by American Airlines to provide non-stop service between Long Island MacArthur Airport (LIMA) in the Town of Islip, New York and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Expanding American Airlines service and creating a new direct flight will mutually benefit both the Washington DC Metro area and the residents of Nassau and Suffolk’s densely and ever growing counties. 
 
As you know, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) required the new American Airlines to divest slots and gates at DCA as a condition of approving the American Airlines – US Airways merger.  Regrettably, several small communities bore the brunt of this divestiture.  This proposal would ensure the continuation of competitive, low-fare service Long Island MacArthur Airport not only fulfilling the requirements of AIR-21/Vision 100 but also reaffirming the recent emphasis placed on small community access.
 
We ask that you please give this application your full consideration.  If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.
 
Sincerely,
Kirsten Gillibrand
Charles E. Schumer
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