A New Task Awaits Veteran Community Leader Krier After Leaving City Council

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A lifetime spent in the public eye won't be ending with Councilman Joe Krier retires from his north side City Council seat later this month, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The long time President of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and prominent local attorney will move immediately into a new role...co-chairing a commission that will study what should be done to improve air travel in the City.

Krier says the task will require that he trot out a crystal ball and look more than twenty years into the future.

"Trying and thinking through what kind of airport assets will be need at that point, not just in terms of routes, but in terms of physical facilities," he said.

The commission, which was appointed by the Mayor and County Judge, will look at all options, from expansions of the existing airport to whether a new airport should be constructed to how to better utilize Stinson Field and the runways at the former Kelly Air Force Base.

He says all options will be debated.

"Will we need more terminals, should be approach Austin again about regional?"

The idea of constructing  a 'D/FW type' regional airport between San Antoio and Austin has been floated for decades, but appears to have lost steam when Austin successfully converted the former Bergstrom Air Force Base into an international airport.

One of the problems is that Bergstrom has become so successful it is siphoning off passengers from San Antonio International, adding to the urgency of the Commission's work

.Krier says the Commission will also look at technology and how it may change the flying normal between now and 2040.  He says, for example, the next generation of aircraft may be able to land and take off on shorter runways, which would be a major boost for San Antonio International, which is surrounded by neighborhoods.

The Airport, however, is not constrained and there is a plan in the works to construct a third terminal if it is needed, on the footprint of the old terminal which was demolished ten years ago.  The Airport is also in the middle of a major construction project, building a new short term parking and rental car facility.

These options make Krier think that building a brand new airport, which has been floated recently, may not be the best idea.

"It would take an enormous amount of time to figure out where that would be, to go through all the environmental clearances, and figure out where the money for all that would come from."

He says the Commission will also study ways to add more routes, especially non stop routes, out of San Antonio International.  A lack of non stops has been a major issue for SAT since AT&T moved its corporate headquarters out of San Antonio in 2008, citing a lack of non stop air routes as a major reason for the move.

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