San Antonio airport officials released welcome news Wednesday for those who have longed for a return to regular vacations and travel in the past year.  

Starting in May, Mexico’s low-cost carrier Viva Aerobus will add a new direct flight from San Antonio International Airport to Bajío International Airport, which serves the Greater Bajío region, including León and Guanajuato, Mexico.

The new flight is San Antonio’s fifth direct-to-Mexico destination, which includes airliners AeroMexico, Volaris, and Viva Aerobus flights to Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico City, and seasonal flights on Sun Country and Southwest airlines to Cancun. 

It is the second new flight service added in San Antonio since the pandemic stalled air travel in 2020, dramatically reducing annual passenger numbers by half of the previous year. The first came in January when Sun Country Airlines announced a direct flight to Cancun, Mexico, starting May 28. 

By May of last year, every single airline serving San Antonio had paused or reduced service. But many of those flights have returned to the slate, and Customs and Border Protection Port Director William Trevino recently told an advisory commission that air traffic in recent weeks has increased tremendously, reflecting a national trend. 

Transportation Security Administration data shows 1.1 million passengers were screened through checkpoints on March 24 versus 279,000 on the same date a year ago. And airport officials are moving forward with strategic development plans that were put on hold in 2020. 

“We are very pleased with the continued investment that Viva Aerobus has committed to San Antonio,” said Director of Airports Jesus Saenz, director of airports. “This new service is a terrific indicator of growing demand between South-Central Texas and Mexico and will be a tremendous asset for the entire region.”

The Bajío service will start May 1 with two flights a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

“We are grateful for Viva Aerobus giving SAT travelers another connection to Mexico to not only make it easier to reconnect with family and friends but to continue to drive business and tourism between our great city and Mexico,” stated City Manager Erik Walsh.

The new service establishes San Antonio as one of only two U.S. cities to offer year-round direct flights to Bajío on Viva Aerobus.

“Viva’s nonstop flights from San Antonio to León are part of our growth strategy and our commitment to offer new destinations to our passengers, providing added convenience for passengers traveling for business, leisure, or visiting friends and relatives,” stated Juan Carlos Zuazua, CEO of Viva Aerobus. “This enhanced connectivity may contribute to both city’s growth in terms of tourism and trade.”

Like San Antonio, the Bajío region is home to UNESCO World Heritage sites in the cities of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, and Querétaro.  

Manufacturing and trade are experiencing accelerated growth in the region, according to airline officials, mostly in automotive and aerospace sectors. But agriculture and leather and footwear products continue to fuel the region’s economy.  

The new flight will depart San Antonio at 12:40 p.m. with arrival in Bajío at 2:40 p.m. Departure from Bajío is at 9:25 a.m. and arrives in San Antonio at 11:30 a.m.

More flight information and booking is available at the airline’s website.

Shari Biediger has been covering business and development for the San Antonio Report since 2017. A graduate of St. Mary’s University, she has worked in the corporate and nonprofit worlds in San Antonio...