vw
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2000 8:39 am

Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:31 am

Slots lined up for D.M.

After being rejected twice, a special lottery gave away space at the Reagan airport.

By WILLIAM RYBERG
REGISTER BUSINESS WRITER
December 7, 2004
Having the support of a United States senator is good, but winning the favor of Lady Luck is sometimes better when it comes to obtaining airline landing slots in the nation's capital.

Northwest Airlines' proposal for a direct route between Des Moines and Washington, D.C., won a federal award Friday that will allow planes to take off and land at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport beginning in March.

When the announcement was made during the weekend, some might have assumed it was because of work by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, R-Ia., who began championing nonstop service after Midwest Airlines abandoned a Des Moines-D.C. route last summer.

It turns out, though, that it was as much luck as it was lobbying by Grassley. The Des Moines landing slot that Northwest won was the result of a special lottery held by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The renewed service is good for business and leisure travelers and for economic development, Grassley said at a news conference Monday at the Des Moines airport.

He warned travelers that the takeoff and landing space at Reagan National is a "use it or lose it" situation. Passenger use will be a key to keeping the service, he said. Des Moines may not get another chance for the direct service if it doesn't work this time, Grassley said.

Thomas Becher, a Northwest spokesman, said Northwest is confident the route will work because the airline already has a strong base in Iowa and plans to use a 50-passenger regional jet, rather than a full-size airliner.

The quest for a resumption of nonstop service began months ago.

With Grassley's encouragement, Northwest applied for one of two slots at Reagan National that Midwest had abandoned.

In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation, which uses rigged criteria to award space at the airport, ended up giving the Midwest slots to Spirit, a Florida-based, low-fare carrier that serves Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Northwest made another bid this fall when space became available from another airline that had discontinued service to Washington from West Palm Beach, Fla.

Grassley again lobbied for a Des Moines-Washington landing slot.

The Department of Transportation reported Monday that those slots went to yet another airline, which will provide service from Jackson, Miss.

Northwest had lost again, it seemed.

Then came the lottery, which officials in Iowa didn't know about.

One of Northwest's commuter partners, Pinnacle Airlines of Memphis, Tenn., won two slots in Friday's lottery.

Ten airlines competed in that drawing for six slots that had previously been used to provide service between Washington and West Virginia.

Three airlines won slots - two per airline, because a carrier needs one slot for a landing and one for a takeoff for a round trip to another city.

Beth Levine, a Grassley spokeswoman, said Grassley's constant encouragement probably played a role in Northwest's decision to use the slots for the Des Moines service.

Pinnacle will fly the Des Moines-Washington route under the Northwest name.
 
iowaman
Posts: 3878
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 2:29 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:38 am

Good job Grassley, now all we need is some service to the NYC, Florida and LAX areas.  Smile
 
planespotting
Posts: 3026
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:54 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:11 am

Not that i voted for him or anything, but it is nice to have two powerful senior senators from your home state  Smile
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
iowaman
Posts: 3878
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 2:29 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:13 am

Just check nwa.com, the flights are in the system with the first flight March 1st at very reasonable fares under $250.  Big thumbs up GO NW!
 
FA4B6
Posts: 1078
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:00 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:18 am

Good job Grassley, now all we need is some service to the NYC, Florida and LAX areas.

maybe JFK-DSM is in B6's future with the 190's?
"Leap! And the net will appear."
 
planespotting
Posts: 3026
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:54 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:18 am

I think it would have been smarter for UA to operate a DSM-IAD. It would have been a little less convenient for business travelers (have to take a bus to the metro rather then just being able to get on the platform like at DCA), but this would open up more connection opportunities for people, and they could have easily give it to Skywest or Air Wisconsin for use in a CRJ.
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
iowaman
Posts: 3878
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 2:29 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:21 am

maybe JFK-DSM is in B6's future with the 190's?

I can always wish.... I'm afraid that it may be too much capacity but we will see. CO did DSM-EWR for a while, but discontinued. DSM-IAH is now up to three times daily on some days. So who knows.
 
iowaman
Posts: 3878
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 2:29 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:23 am

I think it would have been smarter for UA to operate a DSM-IAD.

Maybe so with some connection oppurtunites, but i'm just glad to have service to the D.C. again.
 
FoxBravo
Posts: 2769
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:34 pm

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:30 am

I think it would have been smarter for UA to operate a DSM-IAD.

Nah, then the Senator would've had to schlep all the way from IAD, which of course would be unacceptable.  Big grin

Remember how McCain pushed for those slot exemptions for HP to operate PHX-DCA? Those government folks just LOVE the convenience of DCA. And hey, it's good to be the Senator!*


*with a nod to Mel Brooks
Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
 
toltommy
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2003 9:04 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:31 am

That's a long ride on a CRJ. Not that I'll ever have a reason to fly DCA-DCA, but I'd rather connect thru DTW than fly 2+ hours on a CRJ. An RJ85 would've been nice for the route.
 
dbo861
Posts: 853
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 2:20 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:02 am

Let's just see if they were right about being able to be profitable on this route, unlike Midwest. I'm not being pessimistic or anything, actually the airfares for this route are amazing, around $225. I wish them the best of luck, and hopefully they will be successful.
 
Lindy
Posts: 4722
Joined: Wed May 19, 1999 10:42 pm

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:13 am

Most senators fly out of IAD anyway. Since traffic at DCA for biz jets was closed, now they have to drive to IAD to catch their jet.
I would also preffer RJ85 over CRJ.

Who are the other two airlines that won slots?

Rafal
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
Posts: 6091
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 11:45 am

RE: Northwest Airlink Nonstop DSM-DCA

Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:48 am

Can't have an Arvo on this route. The Arvo's aren't allowed to overfly a hub. Only the 44 seat CRJ's can fly point-to-point as an Airlink flight.

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