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United Airlines today filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for a new daily roundtrip flight between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

If approved, the new route will give customers more nonstop options between DCA and SFO and provide connections from SFO to about two dozen domestic markets within the Western U.S. – as well as seven international destinations. At least nine of these destinations are without United connection options to DCA via San Francisco today. Furthermore, United’s proposed route seeks to avoid the busiest travel times at DCA, which is already one of the most congested airports in the country.

“With our hub in San Francisco, United is well positioned to serve the strong customer demand for air travel between Washington National and the Bay Area,” said Patrick Quayle, Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Alliances at United Airlines. “If awarded by the DOT, this new service will give customers a unique morning departure from Washington National and a unique afternoon departure from San Francisco, as well as more connectivity for both domestic and international travelers via SFO.”

United’s proposed flight would avoid the most congested travel times at DCA and provide additional scheduling options to customers by offering for the first time a morning departure from DCA to SFO and an afternoon departure from SFO to DCA. United plans to use the Boeing MAX 8 aircraft, with 150 economy cabin seats and 166 total seats.

The Washington, D.C. region is a major center of commerce, hosting over 15 Fortune 500 companies, and is a hub for companies focused on emerging technologies, like AI and data sciences. The region is also home to the U.S. Federal Government and global institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and over 100 foreign embassies/consulates.

Like Washington, D.C., California is also a significant hub for innovation and business, and the state with the highest number of Fortune 500 companies. Its economy — the fifth largest in the world at $3.9 trillion in 2023 — has grown by 6.1% since the year prior, highlighting the state’s robust and growing economy. San Francisco, the heart of Northern California, and its surrounding areas are home to over 30 Fortune 500 companies, including Airbnb, Apple, Alphabet, Chevron, Gap, Visa, and Wells Fargo. United provides customers a comprehensive global network in San Francisco, serving more than 60 domestic destinations and over 30 international destinations. The airline has an average of 240 daily departures from SFO and employs more than 12,000 people in the Bay Area.

As an alternate proposal to United’s additional DCA-SFO flight, United has applied for its first-ever DCA-Los Angeles (LAX) flight. The proposed LAX flight would help foster healthy competition, as three other airlines currently fly the route. The proposed flight, which would also be operated on the Boeing MAX 8 aircraft, would also provide greater flexibility and schedule choice for customers with the earliest arrival in LAX of all airlines and the latest morning departure to DCA.