It appears San Antonio’s efforts to attract non-stop air service to key destinations may be paying off.
Wednesday, David Harvey, Southwest Airlines’ Managing Director for Business Development, took a break while traveling to talk with Texas Public Radio’s Shelley Kofler.
Harvey said: “We absolutely are looking for those next best opportunities for new nonstop markets out of the San Antonio marketplace.”
In January Frontier announced new direct service from San Antonio to Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas and Philadelphia. But other top destinations deemed essential of economic development have eluded recruitment. Top priorities include Washington DC’s Reagan National, New York’s LaGuardia and Boston’s Logan.
A Reagan National Non-Stop “Makes Sense”
About Reagan National, the airport closest to Capitol Hill, Harvey said, “That makes sense,” though he acknowledged regulations currently prevent Southwest from flying nonstop between San Antonio and Reagan.
San Antonio city officials have been talking with lawmakers and Southwest about an exemption from the restriction. Harvey said, “Southwest is the most logical carrier to fly that route,” if the restriction is lifted.
Harvey also characterized direct routes to New York’s LaGuardia and Boston’s Logan as “under investigation.
Boston Logan the “Biggest Gap for San Antonio”
The Greater San Antonio Chamber’s Richard Perez has said Boston is especially important as a destination for those working in the area’s growing biomedical and healthcare industry. The Chamber has surveyed area businesses to determine how far they’d go in committing support for that route.
Harvey said Southwest has been talking with San Antonio’s business leaders about direct service to Boston and said it, “rises to top as the biggest gap for San Antonio.”
He said, however, Boston is a longer than average haul and that adds expenses. He believes San Antonio travelers could “fill the seats,” but seemed to question whether they’d be willing to pay the ticket price.
Harvey says Southwest’s decisions on expanding service and adding new non-stop destinations from San Antonio International could come in the last half of this year of early in 2017.