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SAN ANTONIO BUSINESS JOURNAL: Congressman: San Antonio will need airlines’ help to land nonstop flights to DC

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SAN ANTONIO, T, January 25, 2016 | comments

Congressman: San Antonio will need airlines’ help to land nonstop flights to DC


Politics have prevented travelers from flying nonstop between San Antonio International Airport and Reagan National Airport near Washington, DC. But it’s going to take more than political wrangling to lift that long-standing restriction, according to U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas.

The Alamo City is going to need some well-placed allies, according to Cuellar: “We will need the help of the airlines."

The current lack of nonstop access to Reagan impacts multiple San Antonio industries, including tourism and the military sectors, said Jeff Coyle, director of government and public affairs for the city of San Antonio.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get here,” he said.

In fact, Coyle said San Antonio International is the largest medium-hub airport in the country without nonstop flights to Reagan.

“There is a need and a demand,” he said.

Reagan National offers nonstop flights to more than 85 destinations. San Antonio isn’t one of them because of the so-called perimeter rule, which blocks nonstop service between Reagan and airports within 1,250 miles.

Some cities, including Austin, have secured an exemption from the perimeter rule and can offer passengers nonstop flights to Reagan. San Antonio leaders are seeking similar opportunities to expand air access to key destinations. Last week, for example, I reported that San Antonio leaders are seeking to get that perimeter extended to 1,400 miles, so that the Alamo City is no longer restricted from nonstop service to Reagan.

Cuellar acknowledged that San Antonio officials have made a strong case for the flights.

“Everybody wants this,” said Cuellar about the nonstop flights to Reagan. “It’s going to be a fight.”

But the battle will be much easier for San Antonio if leaders here can convince carriers that it’s worth their effort to pitch in and help the Alamo City gain the nonstop flights.

“We can use political muscle,” Cuellar said. “But you still need the airlines.”
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