Congressman Adam Smith expressed his pleasure with Department of Transportation Secretary Mineta's announcement today that Alaska Airlines was awarded the two slots at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC.

"I am very pleased that Alaska Airlines was awarded the slot at National Airport in Washington D.C," said Smith. "This will be the first direct flight into Seattle from National Airport, and I think it shows that the Puget Sound region continues to grow in stature. Congratulations to Alaska and its thousands of employees -- I'm very proud to have them in my district." 

The slots were made available due to American Airlines' acquisition of Trans World Airlines (TWA). Only six pairs of the slots are available at Reagan National and are reserved for non-stop flights of more than 1,250 miles. The DOT approved Alaska Airlines' application over nine other airlines who were all competing for the coveted slots. Each pair consists of one takeoff and one landing daily.

Alaska plans to begin once-daily round trip service in mid-September using 172-seat Boeing 737-900 aircraft. No other carrier offers either nonstop service from Seattle or same plane, one-stop service from Anchorage to Reagan National.

Smith has been diligently working with Alaska Airlines and the Department of Transportation since the initial announcement of an open slot earlier this year in an effort to ensure that Alaska Airlines was awarded these slots.

"I felt it was critical that the Puget Sound region have a nonstop flight into National Airport," noted Smith. "I'm very pleased Alaska Airlines, one of the best-rated airlines in the country, was awarded the slot."