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SA ‘close’ to landing DC flights, says Congressman Castro

SA ‘close’ to landing DC flights, says Congressman Castro

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio’s long quest to gain nonstop air access to Ronald Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C., has spanned multiple presidential administrations but may now be coming to an end.

Congress could pass new legislation within days that would free up more slots for flights to and from DCA, and San Antonio has high firepower fighting for one of those routes.

“This is the closest we’ve gotten in a long time,” said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio.

A federal regulatory wall known as the Perimeter Rule, established in 1966 when jetliners first began operating at Reagan National, has prevented San Antonio from nonstop access to DCA. It was introduced to direct more traffic to Washington Dulles International Airport.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg and others, including Castro, argue that the administration has created an economic barrier between San Antonio and the Washington area for far too long.

Congress is expected to soon vote on the new Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act legislation, which could include five new slots for flights to and from DCA. Castro said the current Senate bill includes such expanded access. He is hopeful that the version of the bill will pass the House of Representatives, and that his colleagues will pass the legislation.

Otherwise, it could be several years before Congress reconsiders the perimeter rule.

“Years ago, slots were added. It came down to San Antonio and Austin,” Castro said. “Since then we have kept pushing. I feel like we are close, it is achievable.”

San Antonio is the largest US city without nonstop flights to DCA. Many smaller markets, including Tulsa, Oklahoma; Akron, Ohio; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; have DCA flights, according to Castro.

Read the full story in the San Antonio Business Journal.

Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

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