By Chase Hagl
San Antonio International Airport Gets Unanimous Approval For Expansion
The San Antonio City Council recently reached a unanimous decision to grant the San Antonio International Airport $2.5 billion in funding to be put towards major improvements such as the revamping of their existing Terminal A, as well as a prospective new third terminal, which will become Terminal C. The proposal looks to bring more foot traffic to the city by making the airport more accessible and attractive to potential serving airlines, including international flights.
The nation’s seventh most populous city’s airport currently operates out of two terminals — Terminal A and Terminal B — utilizing 24 gates. The proposal has the potential to increase that gate number by 2040 to 37 with the additional Terminal C.
Prior to moving forward with the plan, the Federal Aviation Administration must sign off on it to ensure the safe, efficient use and preservation of the airspace.
The San Antonio International Airport continues to bring in more and more traffic each year. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, 10 million passengers flew in and out of the south-central Texas airport. It is projected that within the next 20 years, the airport’s passenger count will nearly double, bringing in a total of 18 million passengers.
“This plan is warranted and will prepare us for future demand and transform the passenger experience at the airport” stated Jesus Saenz, Director of airports for San Antonio Airport Systems. “It will be a world-class facility that everyone will be proud of and reflects our city’s rich culture, diversity, and charm.”
Unfortunately due to the extremely large price tag, the city cannot just build a new airport. John Dickson — Chairman of Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s Airport System Development Committee — believes a new airport would cost roughly $4 billion to $8 billion to build.
A large portion of the $2.5 billion would go towards the construction of the brand new Terminal C. With an expected finish date of this terminal by 2030, it is projected to cost upwards of $840 million. Of the $2.5 billion, some funding will go towards the renovation of the existing international terminal, Terminal A which contains 17 gates with one to be added in 2022.
While including the new terminal building in the first phase of construction, it will also encompass a runway extension. Currently sitting at 8,500 feet long, a runway of 10,000 feet is needed to accommodate those aircraft operating long-haul flights from markets in eastern Europe, South America, and Asia. More international flights serving the airport will help the city enhance its economic development by transporting more cargo, and most importantly, people.
Currently, the airport offers nonstop flights to 39 destinations while only serving international destinations located throughout Mexico. The serving carriers include AeroMexico, Alaska, Allegiant, American, Breeze Airways, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Sun Country, United, Viva Aerobus, and Volaris.