Southwest Airlines announced a new daily nonstop flight from San Antonio International Airport (SAT) to Kansas City International Airport (MCI) at a Thursday morning press conference. Southwest is the first airline to connect the two cities with a nonstop flight. The service will begin on Nov. 6.
“From an economic development perspective, Kansas City is a great compliment to San Antonio and a direct flight further connects our business communities and visitors,” Mayor Ivy Taylor said.
Both cities emphasize entrepreneurial development and startups, Taylor said, and share similar target industries such as bioscience, healthcare and technology.
In the same breath, Taylor added that the city will continue to push for more nonstop flights, especially to Washington D.C. and Boston.
San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez said this nonstop will bring mobility and economic development to San Antonio.
“The San Antonio business community has an itch and we love that Southwest Airlines scratches that itch for us,” Perez said. “That itch is we want to get all around this country to do business. In order for us to do that, we need easy, quick and reasonably (priced) ways to get there. And (Southwest) does that with such style and grace.”
Councilman Joe Krier (D9), whose district includes the airport, said he would continue to push for more direct routes to cities like Lubbock and the Rio Grande Valley within Texas.
“When you’ve made a great sale to one of your long standing customers — and we’ve made a great sale with (Southwest Airlines) on these routes (they’ve) added — the next thing you do is ask them for more business,” Krier said.
The new flight confirms that Southwest Airlines sees San Antonio as a city to invest in, said Aviation Director Tom Jones in a recent email. During such a competitive time for air service, he said he is excited that San Antonio is a part of the company’s expansion.
The airline offers flights based on customer traffic patterns and history, stated Southwest Airlines communication representative Casey Dunn. Statistics showed that many people already fly between San Antonio and Kansas City using a connecting or one-stop flight.
“San Antonio was literally at the cornerstone position of the Texas Triangle, the day Southwest began operations in 1971 and it’s as important to us today as it was on Day One and the mission has not changed,” Dunn stated.
City Council approved extension of the The Air Service Incentive Program during its meeting on Thursday. The new program piggybacks off an existing ordinance passed in November that incentivized both domestic and international airlines to operate out of SAT by reducing operation fees.
The newly approved ordinance expands those incentives, specifically for international routes. It increases marketing incentives and landing fee waivers for a second year up to 50% for eligible international routes. Federal inspection fees, which are usually charged to airlines for processing passengers through airport customer and border protection, will also be waived for one year and up to 50% the following year.
Top Image: A Southwest Airlines plane at the San Antonio International Airport in May 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.