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San Antonio’s Air Transportation Growth

There’s some good news for San Antonio’s business and leisure travelers as Frontier Airlines announces plans to expand airline service to and from the San Antonio International Airport. Through the efforts of the San Antonio International Airport, a robust, broad air service marketing and advertising program has been implemented. The goal is to raise awareness of the options available to both carriers and destinations. As a result, San Antonio is gaining convenient nonstop flights to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport starting April 23. Frontier will provide nonstop flights at a low cost and these flights will be available three times a week, specifically on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. In addition to the Chicago flights, Frontier has also announced it is reinstating nonstop service to Atlanta and Philadelphia in April.

Whether you’re a casual traveler living in San Antonio or fly frequently for business, you’ll appreciate these new and convenient options. Chicago is home to eleven Fortune 500 companies, while the rest of the metropolitan area hosts an additional 21 companies. Additionally, Chicago is another visitor friendly city welcoming over forty-million annually, and the General Services Administration anticipates 10,371 government passengers to fly between San Antonio and Chicago in 2017.

“We are excited to see Frontier adding Chicago as their fifth non-stop location from San Antonio,” said San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor. “This is further demonstration of Frontier’s confidence in the growing San Antonio job market.”

By this coming May, San Antonio will collectively offer 129 nonstop flights to 38 cities. This rapid growth is in response to the city’s ever expanding state of development. This past December reached record-breaking heights with more than 730,000 passengers passing through the airport. Although international traffic has declined, domestic traffic grew 2.8 percent from 2015 to 2016 and the international traffic will likely see an increase when Air Canada’s daily service to Toronto begins in May.

Increased air transportation and the expansion of our airport can have a number of positive impacts on the economy. A recent report done by the Air Transport Action Group on economic impact of the aviation sector found that worldwide, 58.1 million jobs are supported by aviation, 8.7 million of those are direct jobs with airports, airplanes, manufacturing, etc. The Bureau of Transportation recently reported from December 2015 to December 2016, passenger airlines increased employment by 3.7%. The sheer benefits of increased passenger airline jobs in San Antonio would be impressive, but access is also a factor. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that U.S. airlines use of airline capacity as risen to 84.3%. This is the third consecutive month that demand has increased. With more travelers turning to air transportation for business, building a larger air travel hub in San Antonio will play a significant role in attracting new companies and retaining companies. They want to know that their clients and employees will have easy access in and out of San Antonio.

What’s next on the horizon? A top priority during the recent SA to D.C. trip included meetings with members of Congress to advocate for nonstop flights from San Antonio to Washington D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. As the closest airport to Capitol Hill and a recognized transportation hub for the country, the access it would provide San Antonio’s government and business community would be significant. San Antonio is making bold moves and the economic landscape is sure to reap the benefits of this increased airline accessibility in the business community and tourism industry.

Return to EcoDevo 360 eNewsletter Issue 39