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Congress members challenge United on Sacramento-D.C. flight shutdown

United Airlines will drop its nonstop flight from Sacramento to Washington, D.C., from January to April, citing lower passenger demand.
United Airlines will drop its nonstop flight from Sacramento to Washington, D.C., from January to April, citing lower passenger demand. The Associated Press

Eight Northern California members of Congress have sent a letter to United Airlines protesting the carrier’s decision to temporarily shut down the only nonstop flight between two capital cities, Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

United said it intends to ground its daily nonstop flight for three months, from Jan. 6 to April 6, then resume the flights.

In a letter Wednesday to United Chairman Jeff Smisek, eight Sacramento congressional members complained that the move inconveniences constituents, business leaders, school groups and families.

“Their flights are consistently full, signaling the important role they play in connecting our most populous state’s capital city to our nation’s capital city and their economies,” the representatives wrote. “It is imperative that United Airlines shares with us why they feel this service disruption is necessary.”

The letter is signed by House representatives Doris Matsui, John Garamendi, Doug LaMalfa, Jeff Denham, Mike Thompson, Jerry McNerney, Jared Huffman and Ami Bera.

United officials, in an email to The Bee earlier this week, said the shutdown was due to “seasonal demand in the market,” and noted the airline has flights with connections in other cities that can get Sacramentans to the nation’s capital. The airline did not elaborate and did not respond to a Bee request for comment on the letter from Sacramento area congressional leaders.

Also this week, Delta Air Lines announced it is adding daily flights between Sacramento and Seattle as part of a series of new connections from Western cities to Seattle, the airline’s West Coast hub. Four daily flights from Sacramento will be added beginning May 4, operated by Delta affiliates SkyWest and Compass airlines, the airline announced on its website. Tickets will be available for purchase on Saturday.

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

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