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San Antonio Airport Adding More Daily Non-Stop Flights

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
City Manager Sheryl Sculley.

The San Antonio Airport is getting new daily non-stop routes to Oakland, California,  Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and a new direct flight to Washington D.C.’s Reagan International Airport through Southwest Airlines. City officials say it’s part of a plan to increase the airport’s reach.

For a year and a half, San Antonio has been actively trying to secure new destinations from its airport, which often receives criticism for not having enough non-stop flights. San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley said there has to be a market to obtain new destinations.

“It’s not about governance or just providing incentives but rather it has to be sustainable and as we grow the economy in San Antonio the air service will continue to flourish,” she said.

Sculley said over the past 18 months, 20 non-stop destinations have been added to the airport. Eight are new. This makes 43 airports reachable non-stop from San Antonio.

Oakland – with its access to Silicon Valley - is the latest addition. United offers non-spot flights to the nearby San Francisco International Airport, but City Aviation Director Russ Handy said adding Oakland will help competition and hopefully lower prices.

“Oakland serves a great purpose for our corporate world and our last air service development plan identified 34 percent of our corporate travel goes to the west coast and the Bay Area is big part of that especially for the growing Tech Bloc we’ve got here in San Antonio,” he said.

Fort Lauderdale has seasonal service by Allegiant. The new Southwest route will be year-round. Similar to the Bay Area, American Airlines flies non-stop to neighboring Miami, which is the only airline to provides the service. Officials hope the daily Southwest flight to Fort Lauderdale will also foster competition.

One of the larger gains is a direct flight to Reagan International in Washington D.C. David Harvey, managing director of business development at Southwest, says it takes an act of congress to get a non-stop flight to Reagan, something the city and airline haven’t been able to accomplish.

“We’re going to do the next best thing – Southwest is committed to a one-stop through flight so you don’t have to change planes,” he said.

There is currently a non-stop flight by United to Dulles International Airport outside D.C.

The Oakland and Fort Lauderdale flights begin in July. No timeline was given for the D.C. flight.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules