Featured image: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways

San Antonio Welcomes First European Nonstop Route

DALLAS — On Friday, May 17, 2024, Condor Airlines (DE) inaugurated the first-ever nonstop flight from Europe to San Antonio, Texas.

Around 200 passengers were greeted with a live German band and complimentary snacks at San Antonio International Airport (SAT) before boarding the return flight to Frankfurt (FRA), Germany.

Airways was present to witness Flight DE2136, operated by an Airbus A330-900 (D-ANRO), as it received a warm welcome upon its landing at SAT, now an intercontinental airport.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg hailed the flight as a historic milestone for the city, made possible through incentives worth US$1.3 million provided to DE over two years, including US$374,000 in waived fees and a US$900,000 marketing grant to promote the Alamo City to European travelers.

Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways

FRA-SAT Route Schedule

The seasonal route, operating Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until September 6, utilizes the airline's new Airbus A330neo widebody jets with 310 seats.

Flights to FRA will take 10 hours and 15 minutes; the return leg will take 11 hours and 25 minutes.

We agree with the San Antonio Express News that the nonstop summer service addresses pent-up demand and can potentially run the whole year.

Condor's Friday FRA-SAT flight path: Radarbox

A Profitable Intercontinental Route

San Antonio is looking to expand its technology sector and is already a tech hub for Texas, with companies like Amazon, Apple, Oracle and Tesla setting up shop in the lone star state this year alone. Similarly, though known as the largest financial hub in continental Europe, Frankfurt has seen tech companies become a larger part of its local economy.

The local news outlet cites a report commissioned by Greater: SATX, the region's main economic development group, and Visit San Antonio. The study shows that "31 passengers a day go through San Antonio International on their way to or from Frankfurt, along with 42 headed to or from London. That works out to 22,630 passengers a year going back and forth to Frankfurt and 30,660 flying to and from London."

Furthermore, SAT is at the start of a 20-year, US$2.5 billion expansion, so the new nonstop to Europe makes sense. Development will "include building a third terminal by 2028, remaking the small and outmoded Terminal A, and extending runways to accommodate long-haul flights to Asia or deep South America."

Condor's Airbus A330-900 (D-ANRO). Photo: Luke Ayers/Airways

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