The San Antonio International Airport is launching new non-stop flight service to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. It's the latest in a series of new routes established over the last two years.
About 60,000 passengers from San Antonio travel to Raleigh-Durham each year, which made it the airport's fifth largest market without a non-stop flight — until now. The new flight on Frontier Airlines begins April 9.
Tom Bartlett, deputy aviation director for the city, said Raleigh-Durham and San Antonio have a strong military connection, “and there’s (information technology), and biosciences and other businesses. There’s quite a large group of travelers right now.”
With the addition of Raleigh-Durham, flights from San Antonio now travel non-stop to 44 cities. That’s up from 35 cities just two years ago.
The San Antonio to Raleigh Durham flight is one of several new route announcements from Frontier Airlines Thursday. Frontier began flying out of San Antonio in 2016. The Raleigh-Durham route will run twice a week on Mondays and Fridays.
In recent years, the San Antonio airport has been criticized for not having enough non-stop destinations. In 2015, the city began an incentive package for airlines to offer more non-stop routes to and from San Antonio. Brian Pratt, air service administrator for the airport, said the city launched a five year plan that same year to identify top air service priorities.
“It’s aggressively getting out in the community, understanding what the community needs working with those partners and aggressively meeting with carries – we’ve had upwards of 80 meetings last year with carriers and we’re doing the same thing this year,” Pratt said.
Last year, the airport served a record-breaking 9 million passengers in 2017. That’s up from 8.6 million in 2016.
The largest destinations without non-stop service receiving the most passengers from San Antonio include Boston's Logan International Airport, Washington D.C.'s Reagan International Airport and New York's La Guardia Airport. However, both Reagan and Laguardia have distance restrictions in place for non-stop flights that prevent new direct routes without approval from Congress and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, respectively.
Joey Palacios can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @Joeycules