AUSTIN (KXAN) - This week, Southwest Airlines announced its first nonstop flight between the two capitals.
"Progress is full of little steps and this is one of the great little steps along the way. This will help Austin integrate into the Northeast," said William Cunningham, director of Southwest Airlines.
Southwest Airlines will now offer one round-trip flight from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National airport.
"There is no question Washington is here to stay and a lot of people in Austin, Texas have to do business in Washington DC, so this will make life a lot easier on them," Cunningham said.
There was a lot of competition to land the new route. Tens of thousands of people petitioned for Austin to be one of four cities selected.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said she was determined to make it happen and made several calls to the Department of Transportation.
"When he called me to tell me to tell me Southwest had gotten he route to Austin, I was just elated. I think it's going to create a lot of jobs in the area and new comers," Hutchison said.
More nonstop flights like this one could attract more companies to Austin.
"I believe this will be the 40 non-stop flight that comes out of Austin, so again the more we can get out of this airport the more make Austin a center hub of commerce for the state of Texas," said Rep. Michael McCaul.
The Austin Fire Department sent the flight on its way with a water cannon salute on the tarmac at ABIA.
For now, Southwest Airlines will offer one daily nonstop flight between the two cities.
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