In Case You Missed It: San Antonio Tourism Leader Urges Congress To Add Flights At DCA Ahead Of FAA Reauthorization Passage Deadline

In case you missed it, Marc Anderson, president and CEO of Visit San Antonio, penned an op-ed in the San Antonio Express-News advocating for additional nonstop flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and modernizing the outdated perimeter rule through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill.

As the deadline for Congress to pass the FAA Reauthorization bill approaches on December 31st, Anderson called on the entire Texas Congressional delegation to seize the existing momentum to increase affordable access to our nation’s capital. San Antonio, dubbed “Military City USA,” boasts a significant military presence and is a key player in the cybersecurity sector. With a thriving economy and a robust tourism industry contributing $19 billion in total economic revenue, there is a clear need for better connectivity to Washington, D.C. as the current limited number of flights needs to catch up with the high demand.

Anderson concludes by urging Congress to support adding more nonstop flights at DCA. This crucial step would extend beyond travel convenience; it’s vital for economic growth, strengthening military ties and advancing cybersecurity enterprises in San Antonio.

Read the entire piece HERE and below:

Commentary: San Antonio Needs Nonstop Flights To Washington D.C.

Marc Anderson

San Antonio Express-News

Marc Anderson, president and CEO of Visit San Antonio

December 3, 2023

Every five years, we have the opportunity to secure nonstop service between San Antonio International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport by changing the outdated perimeter rule, which artificially restricts long-distance direct flights to and from Reagan National.

We have come up short in the past, but this year could prove to be successful. Congress has until Dec. 31 to pass the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill, which means there is still time for Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn to build on the recent momentum surrounding strengthening affordable access to our nation’s capital and authorize nonstop flights to and from Reagan National.

As president and CEO of Visit San Antonio, I am at the forefront of advancing tourism to support the economic growth of our city. In 2022, tourism and conventions contributed $19 billion to San Antonio’s economy. More than 80% of the conventions that take place in our city are hosted by a wide variety of national associations, making the Washington, D.C., metro area our largest travel origin market. The Reagan National-San Antonio route has high demand, which we can see in annual data and travel trends.

In 2019, approximately 493,000 passengers from San Antonio traveled to the Washington, D.C., region, but there were 30,000 fewer seats on nonstop flights — making for a lopsided supply-demand ratio for San Antonio travelers. Likewise, 44% of passengers flying from the Washington, D.C., region to San Antonio had to connect at another airport — compared with 25% of passengers flying from the top-25 metro areas to our city. Regardless of which way you are going, traveling between San Antonio and Washington, D.C., comes with unnecessary obstacles that Congress has the power to remedy.

Securing nonstop access to Reagan National has implications well beyond the benefits for tourism. We are proud to hold the title of “Military City, USA,” as roughly 16.7% of our residents are either actively serving in the military or are esteemed veterans. These brave people, who have made and continue to make incredible sacrifices for our nation, rightly deserve efficient and affordable access to the capital region. Northern Virginia also serves as the epicenter of the United States military establishment and its associated industries. It is only fitting that our service members, veterans, retirees and their families have nonstop, cost-effective access to not only the historic memorials and monuments, but also our nation’s military leaders and the companies that support them.

San Antonio is also progressively becoming a hub for cybersecurity, largely thanks to the expertise and knowledge of our large military and veteran community. The growth and success of cybersecurity enterprises in our city significantly hinge on this industry’s continued presence here, and having a direct connection to DCA is critical not only for economic growth, but to support cutting-edge security research to help defend our nation against ever-increasing cyber threats from our global adversaries.

I hope that the entire Texas congressional delegation supports our effort to secure this important flight for San Antonio. Doing so will help more Texans access Washington, D.C., more affordably and efficiently. No matter where you live in our great nation, a trip to our capital should be within reach. Let’s make sure we take full advantage of the momentum we have and get the job done for Military City, USA.

Marc Anderson is president and CEO of Visit San Antonio.

About CAA

CAA consists of diverse members from around the country and various industries, including transportation, general business groups, the small business sector, entrepreneurs and job creators, organizations focused on economic development and leaders in the civic and policy communities.

Learn more about Capital Access Alliance HERE.