Design revealed for new San Antonio airport terminal
Initial designs for a new terminal at San Antonio International Airport aim for a more light-filled travel experience compared to the dim halls passengers walk today — and space for more flights, including international ones.
Why it matters: The airport doesn't have enough capacity to serve the region's booming population, officials have said.
- It has long been the target of complaints from business leaders and residents fed up with a dearth of nonstop flights and a drab atmosphere.
- "We have not kept up at the airport, and everybody knows it," city manager Erik Walsh told reporters this week.
The new terminal is expected to open to travelers by early 2028. Construction could begin in 2025.
Details: The design, released Wednesday, shows an outdoor courtyard for travelers who have passed through security.
- Natural light, tall windows, landscaping and greenery are all part of the plan.
- There will be more space for food and drink options. The new terminal will have 41,000 square feet of concession space.
- Waiting areas at gates in the new terminal will be larger. The average gate waiting area in Terminal A is around 3,900 square feet. In the new terminal, it will be around 6,600 square feet.
- The plan aims to improve drop-off and pick-up in part by doubling curb space, assistant city manager Jeff Coyle said.
- Eventually, officials want to connect all three terminals. That means travelers could visit a restaurant in one terminal even if their flight departs in another.
What they're saying: "Our focus is to try to make the experience as pleasant as possible," airport director Jesus Saenz told reporters.
Of note: The new terminal can house up to three wide-body aircraft, typically used on international flights, at a time.
- Existing terminals don't have room for those airplanes unless officials close two gates to hold them, Saenz said.
By the numbers: The new terminal could cost anywhere from $1 billion to $2 billion, Walsh said. Officials won't have a precise cost estimate until they figure out more details, such as what materials will be used.
- There will be up to 17 gates at the new terminal, bringing the total number of gates at the airport to around 40 when completed, Saenz said.
How it works: The renovation is funded through a mix of revenue bonds and federal dollars. The city will pay off debt from the project with the money it makes at the airport from concessions, airline rents and other fees.
- The design is meant to help pay for the expansion. That includes more spots to park airplanes overnight, which airlines pay for, and more concessions that pay to be there.
Context: The new terminal is the centerpiece of a decades-long, $2.5 billion master plan for the airport that City Council adopted in November 2021.
- It intends to bolster San Antonio's economic growth and national standing.
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