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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced new Alaska Airlines daily nonstop roundtrip flights between Washington, D.C. and Seattle/Tacoma and Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

The Department of Transportation awarded Alaska two of the few "beyond-the-perimeter" slots, allowing the airline to provide nonstop flight service to the West Coast.

"This is a great day for Washington state travelers and for Alaska Airlines," Senator Murray said. "Washington state and other West Coast air passengers can fly to and from the nation's capital without having to transfer in the Midwest where congestion and bad weather often cause troublesome delays. This will also allow passengers to avoid long lay-overs and crowded connecting airports when visiting the nation’s capitol."

Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, had asked Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta to consider Alaska for these slots.

The Department of Transportation awarded the slot to Alaska because their increased presence at Reagan National Airport will improve the aviation network in the U.S. by providing increased service to important West Coast hubs. The airline's bid was helped by the fact that Alaska flies an all-U.S., all-Boeing fleet.

"The employees and customers of Alaska now have even more reason to take pride in their airline. This was a very competitive process and this award illustrates national recognition of our airline from the Pacific Northwest," Murray said.