US Airways selects San Diego for Washington National slot exemption

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US Airways has picked San Diego to launch a newly-approved slot exemption to a destination beyond Washington National airport's 2,012km (1,250mi) perimeter rule.

The single frequency to San Diego will begin on 8 June, and is part of a package of 22 new routes from Washington National announced by US Airways this week.

US Airways was one of four "incumbent" carriers granted access by Congress last month to choose one new beyond-perimeter slot exemption from Washington National.

The Washington National-San Diego route also has been targeted by Alaska Airlines, which has applied for the route to the Federal Aviation Administration. Alaska is one of several non-incumbent carriers competing to win eight new slot exemptions from Washington National's perimeter rule. Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines also have applied to fly from Washington National to San Diego, with stop-overs in Austin, Texas and Colorado Springs, Colorado, respectively.

US Airways considered several destinations on the West Coast for the slot exemption, but finally decided on San Diego.

"It's a hard choice but San Diego is a wonderful destination," says Andrew Nocela, senior vice president of marketing for US Airways, speaking to reporters at the carrier's annual media day.

The carrier's growth at Washington National is part of a strategy to focus on four core hubs, which also include Charlotte, Phoenix and Philadelphia.

US Airways will deploy an Airbus A319 on the new route to San Diego.

On 20 March, Flightglobal reported that US Airways announced 20 other new routes from Washington National to five other airports - Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Montreal, Canada and Toronto, Canada.