New gates open at San Antonio airport terminals
San Antonio Aviation Department officials told the city council on Wednesday that progress is being made on several airport improvements and that two of the terminal’s three new gates are expected to open during the busy holiday season.
Planned as part of a $2.5 billion capital improvement project approved a year ago, a newly constructed Gate 9 will open in Terminal B on December 9, said Jesus Saenz, airports director for the San Antonio airport system in an update to the board.
This will allow American Airlines to operate all of its flights from Terminal A, where a new Gate 16 will open on Dec. 22, adding more capacity to that terminal, he said.
A third gate, B-1a, is scheduled to open Jan. 11, bringing the total number of gates at San Antonio International Airport to 27.
In the meantime, a temporary Starbucks store will soon open in Terminal B and a new Transportation Security Administration checkpoint will be ready in time for the traditionally busy travel season between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Additionally, low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines will begin offering service for the first time to San Antonio on Nov. 17.
Saenz also presented the council with more details about a parking program to ease congestion during the holidays.
“Short-term parking continues to close daily,” he said, due to a post-COVID rebound in passenger numbers in 2022.
As a solution, 1,000 long-term parking spaces will be added to the existing surface lots, and during peak periods, travelers will be able to use the Flyaway Valet service to reserve a parking spot before heading to the airport.
In September, airport officials told city leaders they planned to outsource the management of vehicle parking operations to a private company and would issue a request for proposals in early 2023. The move is expected to improve upon both service and increase revenue.
In November 2021, the city council approved the plan to build a new terminal at the airport and to make some other major improvements which were outlined in a 20-year strategic development plan.
The work of selecting contractors for these projects is progressing with several other projects already completed, Saenz said. In June, the board approved a $3.8 million contract with architectural firm Corgan for the planning of Terminal C, which is expected to be completed by 2028.
Through a recent solicitation process, aviation officials also selected the San Antonio-based team of engineering consultants Freese and Nichols as the project manager and construction manager overseeing the construction of the additional terminal at the ‘airport. The selection is pending a vote by the city council in December.
District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry asked Saenz to fund the project.
Cost estimates for the terminal project will be determined by the work of terminal planning architects and the construction manager and presented to council in 2023, Saenz said.
In July, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded San Antonio a $10 million grant to make space for the construction of Terminal C, and in August another $2.5 million in funding for terminal improvements. ‘airport.
More funding will be available through competitive grant opportunities in the coming years, including $145.5 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bill bipartisan infrastructure bill passed earlier this year, he said.
Projects already completed at the airport in 2022 include improving a heavily used airfield runway in the northwest corner of the airport, adding controls in the baggage handling system to increase capacity , and the construction and opening of an office building for maintenance staff.
Additionally, at Stinson Airport, construction has begun on a new taxiway, Saenz said, “this will create additional hangar development opportunities and further expansion for the growth that is also occurring in Stinson’s area”.