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  • KGUN 9 Tucson News

    Old Pueblo to D.C.? TAA, Nogales Port Authority lobby for direct flight

    By Eddie Celaya,


    The route from Tucson to Washington D.C. could be getting a lot more direct, soon.

    Efforts are underway to establish a direct flight route from Tucson International Airport to Ronald Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C.

    The initiative, driven by the Tucson Airport Authority and supported by the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority and other area organizations, aims to enhance connectivity for both business and governmental travel.

    Austin Wright, Chief Communications Officer for TAA, emphasized the broad support for this project.

    "We’ve received over 50 letters from cities like Nogales, Oro Valley, and organizations such as VisitTucson and the Marana Chamber," Wright said. "Everyone’s behind us because they think this is an important route for Tucson."

    Currently, travelers from Southern Arizona must either drive to Phoenix or take connecting flights to reach Washington D.C., adding significant time and cost.

    Josh Rubin, Chairman for the Port Authority, explained the impact of this inconvenience.

    "Whenever we do want to make a trip to Washington D.C., you have to plan your flight from Tucson to Phoenix, Dallas, or Denver," Rubin said. "That means more expensive travel, costly delays, and an impact on how business gets done."

    The proposed direct flight would not only streamline travel but also support economic growth.

    "First of all, there’s a lot of big business connections between the two cities, so having that non-stop flight is just a natural connection," Wright said.

    Rubin added, "If we want to increase trade and grow our port of entry from a $32 billion port to a $50 billion port, we need this type of communication and these types of relationships."

    The TAA is actively lobbying the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to approve this route, amid competition from other markets such as Denver and Las Vegas.

    "We know that other markets are in similar positions," Rubin acknowledged. "If we’re number six, there are five more ahead of us."

    Wright remained optimistic, citing strong data to support the viability of the new route.

    "Data is there to support that this flight would succeed from our market to D.C.," he said.

    Eddie Celaya is a multimedia journalist at KGUN 9. Born in Tucson and raised in the Phoenix area, Eddie is a life-long Arizonan and graduate of the University of Arizona who loves the desert and mountains and hates the cold. Previously, Eddie worked in print media at the Arizona Daily Star. Share your story ideas with Eddie at , or by connecting on Facebook or Instagram .

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