Direct flights will start between PDX and Washington D.C.

Portland is about to get a new direct flight to and from the East Coast.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said on Monday morning they have approved plans for Alaska Airlines to fly a non-stop route from PDX to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.

“This direct flight will support business growth and jobs in Southwest Washington and Oregon and it will make the Pacific Northwest more accessible and attractive to East Coast businesses and tourists,” Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington said in a statement.

Cantwell is the chair of the Senate Aviation Subcommittee.

The direct flight to Reagan National had to be cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration. Since 1960, the federal government has restricted air traffic in and out of the airport, according to Alaska Airlines.

The airline lobbied heavily for the approval, including mounting a letter-writing campaign. Cantwell, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and many other politicians also pushed for the route to be approved.

"The demand for flights from Oregon to Washington, D.C. far exceeds the current capacity and with these increased flights between the two destinations will come greater economic growth for Oregon and the Pacific Northwest," Wyden said. "Oregon is fast becoming a technology industry hub and D.C. is the center for technology policy. Connecting these two regions with more direct flights will only serve to improve Oregon’s innovative tech industry"

There is no word yet when the flights will start or how often Alaska will fly the route.