The US Department of Transportation has awarded eight new beyond perimeter slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and Virgin America.
The airlines will receive two slots each to fly one round-trip beyond the airport's decades-old 2,012km (1,250mi) perimeter, which was allowed under legislation authorising long-term funding for the Federal Aviation Administration in February.
Alaska will fly to Portland, JetBlue to San Juan, Southwest to Austin with continuing same-plane service to San Diego and Virgin America to San Francisco.
"The flights will increase competition for airlines serving Washington, which can lead to lower fares for consumers," says US transportation secretary Ray LaHood in a statement.
The legislation also allows American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways to each add one new round-trip beyond the perimeter with two of their existing slots. American will fly to Los Angeles, Delta to Salt Lake City, United to San Francisco and US Airways to San Diego.
Five route applications were denied by the DOT. These proposed routes include Air Canada to Vancouver, Alaska to San Diego, Frontier Airlines to Colorado Springs, JetBlue to Austin and Sun Country to Las Vegas. Virgin America also requested slots for a second round-trip to San Francisco.
The new slots cannot be used for any route other than the one approved by the DOT and cannot be sold or transferred to another airline, except in the case of an acquisition.