San Antonio Shopping For Airlines
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
Beginning today, San Antonio, Texas, officials will consider a plan to attract another major airline to the city, or incentivize a current one, in the hopes of creating nonstop service between San Antonio International Airport and several large unserved markets, including the major east coast hubs of New York, Boston and Washington.
And the city is willing to pay for the privilege.
WOAI Radio in San Antonio reports that a proposal being put before the City Council today includes payment of up to $100,000 to “any carrier that begins nonstop departures on an unserved route provided the service level is a minimum of 365 scheduled departures during the incentivized 12 month period,” according to the proposal.
Richard Perez, CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, told the radio station that Boston Logan, Washington National Airport and New York La Guardia are the three main targets.
"So we are going to attack those areas that we know will have an immediate impact on the business climate of San Antonio," Perez said.
A quick check of Expedia only emphasizes this. TravelPulse popped in a random set of dates for a trip from any airport in the New York City area to San Antonio. Some 80 flights came back, but 78 of them went through a connecting city. That’s right, only two flights – a Saturday flight on Delta and a Saturday flight on United – did not have a layover.
Same thing with Washington D.C. – 81 flights, 79 of them one stop, two of them nonstop and both of them United on Saturdays.
Flights out of Boston’s Logan Airport were even worse – 37 flights between Beantown and San Antonio, 35 with one stop and five with two stops. No direct flights.
In addition to those three major cities, Perez told the radio station that while the city does have nonstop flights to 44 cities in the U.S. and Mexico, San Antonio unfortunately does not have nonstop service to Kansas City, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, or to such tech-centric cities as Portland, Oregon, or San Jose, California and the rich Silicon Valley, or to the aforementioned cities of Boston, New York and Washington on the east coast corridor.
"Not having enough direct access indeed is a negative in our plusses and minuses column," Perez told WOAI.
The proposal put before the City Council also includes a waiver of landing fees for a year to any airline that establishes nonstop flights on “unserved or underserved qualifying routes.”
With the loss of AT&T in 2007 when the telecom giant moved its corporate headquarters to Dallas, San Antonio has been left with few other marquee businesses. The supermarket chain H-E-B is headquartered in the city and employs more than 20,000, as is USAA, the military insurance company that employs more than 17,000. The San Antonio area is also home to Lackland Air Force Base and Fort Sam Houston.
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