The announcement by Air Canada that it will begin non stop flights from San Antonio to Toronto is part of a long term plan to increase the city's lack of non stops to major destinations worldwide, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Air Canada officials were in the city on Wednesday to promote the new flights, which begin later this Spring and will be SAT's first non stop international flights to a destination other than Mexico.
New Airport Director Russ Handy says international non stops are a key goal of SAT."Toronto is definitely on that list," he said. "As well as Panama City as a gateway to Central and South America. We are definitely looking hard at that."
Despite rapid economic growth over the past decade, San Antonio's economy has been strongly hampered by a lack of non-stop flights to major national and international destinations. When AT&T made its decision to move its worldwide headquarters out of San Antonio in 2008, CEO Randall Stephenson cited a lack of non stop flights as the main reason.
Recently, several city officials have spoken out on the city's airport issues.County Judge Nelson Wolff says the problem is SAT is landlocked due to the growth of the city around the airport in the past thirty years, and he proposed a new international airport outside the city. Just this week, local tech executive Brad Parscale proposed converting either Stinson Field or the runway at Port San Antonio into a second passenger terminal, similar to Love Field in Dallas or Houston Hobby, to accommodate more airlines.
A top city priority in 2017 is to establish a non stop flight from SAT to Washington Reagan National Airport.
San Antonio has been embarrassed in recent years with the growth of Austin Bergstrom Airport, which offers a wider variety of airlines and flights, including non stop flights to Europe and Asia, which are not available out of SAT. In fact, residents of San Antonio's north side have begun to travel to Bergstrom in large numbers rather than catching planes at SAT.
Handy says the Toronto flights is a good start toward that goal."There are a half a million vistiors to the State of Texas from Canada each year," he said. "We believe there is a great potential for travelers out of Texas into Toronto, which, as you know, is a gateway."