Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Austin to London, nonstop

Does this mean we're going to see more British acts at SXSW next year?
British Airways has announced new, nonstop service between London and Austin beginning March 3, 2014. The flight will connect Heathrow and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and marks the first regular transatlantic air service for the city of Austin.

“As the Mayor of Austin and a former pilot, I could not be more excited about this announcement by British Airways, one of the world's foremost carriers,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “Connecting two of the world's great cities, London and Austin, through this first time, non-stop service between ABIA and Heathrow Airport is sure to take our city to a new level for both business and vacation travelers."
This service truly is a big get for Austin and ABIA, especially considering that when it opened in 1999, when I still lived in Austin, Bergstrom was an "international airport" in name only. They've since added scheduled flights to Cancun and Cabo, but direct flights to London is something entirely different for Austin and its economy.

Austin is now the 11th-largest municipality in the nation, larger than the cities of San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Denver or Washington DC (although those metropolitan areas, including suburbs, might still be bigger). As it has grown, the city has become a player on the international business stage; nonstop flights to Heathrow are a direct indicator of that.

On the flip side, nonstop flights to London might also mean that the city has truly become mainstream: goodbye, weirdness?

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