American Airlines Eyes Direct San Antonio-Washington Service

4 min read

American Airlines has submitted a formal application to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for a new service. The airline plans to launch daily, nonstop service between San Antonio International Airport (SAT) and Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA).

This is a significant development for a city experiencing explosive growth and a critical military presence.

For years, San Antonio, the fastest-growing major U.S. city, has lacked a direct connection to Washington D.C.’s most convenient airport, Reagan National.

This gap has posed a challenge for business travelers, leisure seekers, and most importantly, the city’s sizeable military community.

Supporting San Antonio Growth

The 2024 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, with its allocation of five new roundtrip flights to DCA, opened the door for this long-desired route.

American Airlines’ application seeks to fill this void and establish the only nonstop service between San Antonio and Washington D.C.

This new route signifies more than just convenient travel. It represents a strategic investment in San Antonio’s future.

The city boasts a thriving economy, a rich cultural heritage, and a major military presence. Direct access to Washington D.C. will strengthen economic ties with the nation’s capital. It will foster collaboration with federal agencies, research institutions, and policymakers.

American’s proposed service offers convenient, time-saving nonstop option. The new route will also seamlessly integrate with American’s existing network at San Antonio International Airport.

Passengers traveling from San Antonio will have access to over 25 daily departures to various destinations across the U.S.

Additionally, American will leverage DCA as a hub, offering one-stop connections to destinations in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Canada.

This expanded connectivity caters to a wider range of travelers, from business professionals attending conferences to families embarking on multi-destination vacations.

BriYYZ from Toronto, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

American’s application enjoys overwhelming support from the San Antonio community. Over 150 letters of support, from bipartisan policymakers and business leaders to military organizations and advocacy groups, have been submitted to the DOT.

This collective voice underscores the high demand for a direct connection to Washington D.C.

Key figures in San Antonio’s leadership have echoed the importance of this route. Brian Znotins, Senior Vice President of Network and Schedule Planning at American Airlines, highlighted the fact that the proposed new route will become the only nonstop service between San Antonio and Washington D.C.

San Antonio Airport System Director Jesus Saenz expressed his gratitude for American’s partnership and their shared vision of improving air travel options for San Antonio.

He specifically emphasized the route’s significance for the city’ business and military communities.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg stressed the historic opportunity this route presents. Direct access to Washington D.C. will enhance general travel convenience.

It will also strengthen economic ties and facilitate collaboration with federal agencies, research institutions, and the Pentagon. This, in turn, will contribute to the city’s continued growth and prosperity.

An American Airlines flight takes off.
Nathan Coats from Seattle, WA, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A Touch of History: Commemorative Flight Numbers

Adding a special touch to this endeavor, American Airlines plans to utilize unique flight numbers for the SAT-DCA route.

Flight 1718 commemorates the year San Antonio was founded, while Flight 1947 celebrates the establishment of the U.S. Air Force.

These flight numbers serve as a subtle tribute to the city’s rich history and its significant military contributions.


Strong community backing, a compelling proposal, and American Airlines’ established reputation characterize this new initiative.

San Antonio appears well-positioned for a smooth takeoff in securing this long-awaited nonstop connection to Washington D.C.

This route is poised to become a catalyst for further economic growth, increased collaboration, and a more connected San Antonio community.

The application will now progress through the DOT approval process.

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