Plan Floated for Major Expansion of International Airport

With passenger traffic expected to hit a record 10 million in 2018, a commission appointed by Mayor Nirenberg is suggesting a major expansion of San Antonio International, instead of proposing construction of a new facility, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The commission says the needed expansions can take place within the framework of the current airport, and maintain the city's top travelers amenity--the quick and easy trip between the airport and downtown.

The commission said 11 new gates would be needed in the short term, which would likely mean a third terminal,. A Terminal C was floated when Terminal B was constructed earlier this decade, which would be built west of the existing Terminal B.

The commission rejected allegations that the airport is 'landlocked' and could not accommodate new terminals and runways.. It said by adjusting the current runway layout and relocating some of the commercial businesses at the airport, the needed acerage could be found.

The commission said the problem of acquiring the needed land in the fast growing area, receiving needed environmental clearance, the cost of up to $10 billion, the costs of operating the current airport while managing the construction of a new facility, and the loss of the quick connection to downtown all argued against construction of a new  airport.

"John Dickson and his blue ribbon committee did an outstanding job, and were right on the mark with their recommendations," said former Councilman Joe Krier, who represented the district that includes the airport.

There has been talk of expanding Stinson Field, which just installed a new control tower and is undergoing major upgrades, into a secondary airport for commercial,as well as general aviation.

Several factors are behind the growth of San Antonio International.. Under the leadership of retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Russ Handy, the airport has successfully acquired new carriers and new domestic and international non stop routes.. 

The booming San Antonio economy, the Final Four and the Tricentennial activities also contributed to passenger loads.

No immediate estimate was available about the cost of the airport expansion or the timeline.. Those issues will be tackled after City Council signs off of the proposal.

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