Alaska Airlines bids for beyond-perimeter slots at Washington National

Washington DC
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Alaska Airlines has applied to begin two new routes from Washington National airport, as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) closes a deadline today to accept bids for new flights beyond a nearly 2,012km (1,250mi)-perimeter of the airport.

Alaska is bidding to launch non-stop service from Washington National to Portland, and from Washington National to San Diego, says the carrier, which plans to offer a daily flight on each route.

"Providing residents of the greater Portland area with convenient nonstop service to the nation's capital is the priority for Alaska Airlines in applying for more DCA service, and we're thrilled this day has finally come," says Brad Tilden, Alaska Air Group's president and chief executive officer-elect. "Alaska is also eager to add nonstop service to San Diego - the largest market in the country without nonstop service to Reagan National."

The FAA is taking bids from airlines to open four new routes from Washington National, which is being allowed for under legislation authorising long-term funding for the FAA.

Virgin America has said it plans to apply to the Department of Transportation to launch flights between Washington National and San Francisco, challenging a new route that United is launching in two months.

The FAA is expected to decide on bids in May. Alaska Airlines says it could begin flights as soon as late August if it is successful.

The carrier currently operates thrice daily flights to Washington National. Two of these are from Seattle while the remaining flight is from Los Angeles.

United Airlines operates non-stop service between Portland and Washington Dulles airport, as well as between San Diego and Washington Dulles, schedules in Innovata show.