US President Bill Clinton has signed into law the US Federal Aviation Administration $40 billion reauthorisation bill (AIR-21), prompting more US carriers to submit route applications to take advantage of the relaxation in access to Washington National, New York LaGuardia and Kennedy, and Chicago O'Hare airports.

AIR-21 includes a provision for 12 daily exemption slots to fly beyond the 2,310km (1,250nm) range perimeter now in force at Washington National Airport. An additional 12 exemptions within existing range limitations are being offered to new or small incumbent carriers to fly from National to small or medium size hub airports now without non-stop services.

American Airlines accordingly has filed an application to operate the first non-stop services between National and Los Angeles twice daily using a Boeing 757. Frontier has similarly applied to fly twice daily between National and Denver using a Boeing 737-300, while Vanguard Airlines has a pending application to operate to Kansas City twice a day.

The bill also opens up access to LaGuardia, Kennedy and Chicago for operators of regional jets seating 71 or fewer passengers. American Trans Air seeks to take advantage of the rules to maintain services between LaGuardia and Chicago Midway, while Shuttle America wants to fly six daily services between LaGuardia and Bedford, Massachusetts. Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines have applied for 346 slot exemptions at LaGuardia (Flight International, 25 March - 3 April).

Source: Flight International