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Nonstop flight from San Antonio into D.C. won’t go up for House vote this week

April 26, 2018 GMT

A proposal that would give San Antonio a shot at a nonstop flight directly into Washington D.C. won’t go before the U.S. House of Representatives this week after encountering opposition from the airline industry and D.C. lawmakers.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar pulled an amendment to a House bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration from debate Thursday. It would have allowed airlines to swap out a nonstop route they already fly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for a nonstop route connecting San Antonio International Airport to the D.C. airfield.

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Cuellar was not immediately available for comment. A representative for U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, a leading co-sponsor of the amendment, did not return calls and emails requesting comment.

“This was a narrowly-crafted solution for Military City USA, and I don’t believe our congressional delegation could have done anything more to get it passed,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a statement. “I am grateful to Congressmen Cuellar and Hurd and the rest of our delegation, whose bipartisan teamwork was tremendous. We are extremely disappointed that fear and misinformation won the day.”

A pair of federal laws limit the amount of air traffic into Reagan National. The airport can only have 60 “slots,” or arrivals and departures, per hour. Another rule prohibits nonstop flights from cities more than 1,250 miles from the D.C. airport.

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Cuellar’s amendment — co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Will Hurd, Lloyd Doggett, Joaquín Castro, Vicente Gonzalez and Lamar Smith of Texas along with Scott Peters of California —would have permitted airlines to exchange a nonstop route they already fly into Reagan National for one that flies to a destination outside of the 1,250-mile perimeter — a move that would have put San Antonio and San Diego international airports into play for a possible nonstop into the heart of the District of Columbia.

But the move faced steep opposition from Virginia lawmakers and airline groups.

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Joshua Fechter is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of his stories here. | jfechter@express-news.net | Twitter: @JFreports