The San Antonio International Airport announces new nonstop destinations that were previously unserved by airlines.
On Thursday, Frontier Airlines officials said new service to nine cities will begin in August.
Those cities are:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Columbus, Ohio
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Oklahoma City
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Omaha, Nebraska
Aside from Charlotte, these routes were not served by other airlines. The new nonstop routes will fly two to three times per week.
The city has been pushing for more nonstop flights out of the airport for the last two years and airlines like Frontier have answered the call, adding 19 new routes in the last year.
“San Antonio is obviously a rapidly growing city and additional growth and additional people moving to region drive demand for air travel,” said Daniel Shurz, a vice president at Frontier Airlines, adding that San Antonio is underserved when compared to other major Texas cities.
Russ Handy, San Antonio’s aviation director, says the new nonstop access to these cities may encourage more passengers to fly.
“Frontier’s done a lot of analysis and they feel they’ve got load factors to support an economic route, but we also strongly believe that people that are not currently flying will,” he said. “So that’s an investment that Frontier makes based upon their prediction that that demand will stimulate.”
The additional flights mean Frontier will fly to 23 destinations from San Antonio, making it the airline with the largest number of nonstops out of the city, according to airport officials.
“Our business community doesn’t only do business with Boston, L.A., and D.C., they do business all over the country so this gives our business community the mobility they need to continue to grow their businesses,” San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President Richard Perez said. “But then it can be the example to show the other airlines that, ‘Hey, there’s a special story here you better be on board and help us, if not you’re going to get left behind.”
The airport has faced scrutiny in the past of not having enough nonstop flights to other cities; that triggered a push from city leadership to increase flight options. The city created some incentive plans for airlines.
Handy said Frontier did receive incentives but declined to to be specific.
“The incentive program is complex,” he said. “There are some incentives that are allowed for particular routes, and so some of these and others they’ve offered in the past will be subject to incentives.”
The airport has seen continued passenger growth, according to SAIA news releases. In 2017, just over 9 million travelers passed through the airport — an about 5 percent increase over 2016 of 8.6 million passengers.
Flights on all airlines from San Antonio will now fly to 53 nonstop destinations — up from 35 two years ago.
United Airlines also announced Monday it would create a new route from San Antonio to Newark, offering twice daily service beginning in October.
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules