Local travelers are used to the San Antonio International Airport being, well, serviceable. Getting through security may be relatively hassle-free, and the cramped surroundings are kept clean, but it's nothing to write home about.
City leaders have made it clear that "good enough" is not good enough.That will soon change as the San Antonio Airport System kickstarts the Terminal Development Program. The project will transform the main terminal into a space worthy of one of the largest cities in the United States. At the February 15 City Council meeting, the public was given a peek at what's to come via renderings and a 3D model.
The ambitious project is spearheaded by international architectural firm Corgan, with assistance from renowned San Antonio firm Lake|Flato Architects and planning consultants Kimley-Horn. Though the design is only 15 percent completed, the preliminary plan includes 850,000 square feet of new terminal space. The facility could also have up to 17 gates, six of which will be able to serve double duty for domestic and wide-body international flights.
Though practicality is at the forefront, many improvements will also be aesthetic. The development also includes a landscaped walkway between the curb and terminal that pays homage to the River Walk and outdoor courtyards.
In addition, there will also be more than 29,000 square feet of available club lounge space and more spacious seating areas at each gate with state-of-the-art technology. A modern Federal Inspections Service area will also be installed, allowing SAT to expand its international air service.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg believes the expansion will strengthen the airport's position in the aviation industry.
"This expanded facility will accommodate current and future air service expansion to meet our community's constantly growing demand through 2040 and beyond," Nirenberg said via a release. "The airport is the doorstep to our beautiful city … We're putting San Antonio on the map with every step of this much-needed project. "
Though budgetary concerns, negotiations with airlines, and upcoming designs will all impact the final form of the airport, a streamlined process has been established with the City Council to help get the improvements quickly off the ground.
Jesus Saenz, Director of Airports for the San Antonio Airport System, says the team expects the design process to wrap up at the end of 2023.
"If all goes to plan, we'll put shovels in the ground around this time next year," said Saenz in the release. "When people step off a plane at SAT, there will be no question where they've arrived."