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Representative: Washington, D.C. 'direct flight would just make economic sense' from SAT

Airliner adds new nonstop flights to previously unserved cities

SAN ANTONIO – People in San Antonio can now fly nonstop to six new destinations.

Frontier Airlines on Tuesday announced new nonstop service out of San Antonio to Cincinnati, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego and San Jose, California.

For those who fly to Washington, D.C., however, the fact that San Antonio does not have a direct flight there can be inconvenient and it could also be hurting business, Rep. Henry Cuellar said.

"A direct flight would just make economic sense for everybody," Cuellar said. "Not only for the military but just for the general business population we have in San Antonio."

Russ Handy, aviation director for the City of San Antonio, said nonstop flights to the nation's capital have been a big focus for the city, but there's a holdup.

Handy said right now it's controlled by a perimeter legislation that limits cities over 1,250 miles away from having a direct flight to Washington D.C. San Antonio is 1,380 miles away. That's about 130 miles outside of that perimeter.

"We're actively working with our elected officials and airlines to gain an exemption to that, but we also have focus areas for other markets,” Handy said. “The East Coast and the West Coast and the Southeast are really the three regions we're putting the most effort into.”

Handy said both San Antonio and Austin have been increasing their flights.

"Austin is a different market with a different demographic," Handy said. "We all understand that. That said, we examine that very carefully. The amount of what we call leakage, members of our community that drive to Austin, it's a small amount. We're focusing on why that is happening."

Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president and CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, who is also co-chairperson of the San Antonio International Airport’s air service task force, sent a statement on Tuesday afternoon about the new flights:

"Today's news of Frontier adding six additional nonstop flights from the San Antonio International Airport further increases our air connectivity and will strengthen our city's ability to compete globally. We have an incredible asset in our local airport and SAEDF will continue working in partnership with the City of San Antonio to secure new direct flights and support our thriving economy."

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