Alaska Airlines will be expanding it's direct flights to and from Seattle - Tacoma to San Antonio.
Alaska Airlines will be expanding its direct flights to and from Seattle-Tacoma to San Antonio. Credit: Courtesy / Alaska Airlines

San Antonio airport officials announced Wednesday that Alaska Airlines is expanding its daily nonstop service from the San Antonio International Airport (SAT) to Seattle.

Starting July 16, the airline’s service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) will be provided two times a day, operating on a 178-seat, B737-900 aircraft.

“We are excited about the additional flight because Seattle has been an underserved market and is quickly growing,” stated Russ Handy, aviation director for the City of San Antonio. “This new service will allow more access to Seattle and the entire Alaska Airlines network.”

Seattle is a fast-growing market, with over 166,000 passengers annually flying between there and San Antonio. Both metropolitan areas share similar trade and business interests, with Seattle’s major industries being technology, life sciences and health care, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy. And, of course, it’s the home base for Amazon.

Seattle has a large veteran population, a highly educated workforce, and a median annual household income of nearly $80,000, according to census data. It’s also a popular vacation destination, with top attractions including the iconic Space Needle – a legacy of the 1962 World’s Fair – Pike Place Market, and Chihuly Gardens.

Alaska Airlines is headquartered in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, and operates a hub there. The airline launched its current daily, nonstop service from San Antonio to Seattle in 2012. Demand has risen steadily ever since. In 2018, market demand for air service from SAT to SEA increased by 11 percent, leading to Monday’s announcement.

The new flight will depart the San Antonio airport at 6:45 a.m. and arrive in Seattle at 9:05 a.m. The return flight will depart Seattle at 5:45 p.m. and arrive in San Antonio at 11:55 p.m. The airline has begun accepting bookings for the flights.

Alaska Airlines’ current service offers a Seattle departure of 11:50 a.m. and arrival in San Antonio at 5:50 p.m. The return flight departs San Antonio at 6:55 p.m. and arrives in Seattle at 9:30 p.m.

Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines currently offer service between the two cities, but with stops at airports in cities such as Denver, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.

The San Antonio airport set growth records in 2018, with the latest figures available showing November passenger counts totaling 888,698, an increase of nearly 10 percent over the same month the previous year, and a year-to-date total of 9.2 million passengers. Domestic travel was up 10 percent and international travel 9 percent.

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.