Sen. Cruz, Reps. Roy, Castro Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Coalition of Texas Lawmakers in Support of Direct Flight from SAT-DCA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) are leading a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of Texas lawmakers in urging Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to allocate San Antonio International Airport (SAT) one of the new long-haul, round-trip flights to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The recent FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024, which Sen. Cruz co-authored as the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee and was signed into law, secured five new round-trip flights to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) from locations previously excluded from direct flights. The Department of Transportation recently announced the application procedures for the eligible airlines and will award slots for new service this summer.

In the letter, the members wrote:

“We are writing to urge you to allocate to San Antonio International Airport (SAT) one of the five new long-haul, round-trip flights to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) authorized by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 (P.L. 118 63).

“The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024, enacted on May 16, received overwhelming bipartisan support from both the Senate and the House of Representatives, with votes of 88-4 and 387 26, respectively. The law’s numerous provisions make critical improvements to aviation safety, operational efficiency, and the traveling experience for consumers. In particular, Section 502 of the law adds five additional long haul, round-trip flights to DCA. As the elected federal representatives of the San Antonio region, we strongly believe that one of these five round-trip flights should be granted for nonstop service from DCA to SAT in San Antonio, Texas.

“San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the country and is the largest majority-Hispanic city in the United States. Last year it was the fastest growing city by population in the country. The San Antonio region has a rich culture, from the Alamo to the arts, is home to research institutes with national significance like the Southwest Research Institute and the University of Texas Health Science Center, and has both the largest and most diverse joint base in the Department of Defense (DOD), Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA), as well as the DOD’s largest hospital, Brooke Army Medical Center. 

“The military presence in San Antonio is so significant the City of San Antonio in 2017 adopted ‘Military City USA’ as its official nickname. San Antonio is central to DOD’s readiness efforts—every enlisted medic is trained at JBSA, every airman in the Air Force completes basic military training in San Antonio, Lackland Air Force Base hosts multiple Air Force Assets, and the Brooke Army Medical Center is the only Level I trauma center in the DOD. Given all of this, San Antonio is a logical choice for a direct flight to DCA as the airport is a short drive from both the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, where we honor the servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We appreciate your acknowledgment of this fact during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing in April when, in response to a question about the need for a direct San Antonio-DCA flight, you said ‘having travelled on orders myself, I certainly recognize and appreciate the importance of good air travel and other travel options for our military members.’ 

“Section 502 requires the new direct flights either: (1) benefit travelers from communities without existing nonstop service to DCA, or (2) have a positive impact on the level of competition in the markets served by the new routes. As one of the largest cities in the country without a direct flight to DCA, San Antonio undoubtedly meets the letter and spirit of the legislation. The Department of Transportation should expeditiously initiate the allocation process for these new flights and award the slots within 60 days, as required by law, and the five new round trips allocated should include San Antonio to DCA.”

Joining Sen. Cruz and Reps. Roy and Castro in sending this letter are Sen. John Cornyn, Reps. Lloyd Doggett, Henry Cuellar, Greg Casar, Monica Del La Cruz, Tony Gonzales, Wesley Hunt, Lance Gooden, Ronny Jackson, Vicente Gonzalez, Brian Babin, Randy Weber, Beth Van Duyne, Pat Fallon, Colin Allred, Jasmine Crockett, Dan Crenshaw, Nathaniel Moran, Michael Cloud, Sylvia Garcia, August Pfluger, John Carter, Kay Granger, Troy Nehls, Morgan Luttrell, Keith Self, Jake Ellzey, Pete Sessions, Michael McCaul, Roger Williams, Marc Veasey, Michael Burgess, and Lizzie Fletcher.

Read the full text of the letter HERE.