by Morgan Montalvo
2019 is shaping up as a big year for Stinson Municipal Airport, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
A number of major improvements are underway and on schedule for completion next year to boost the south side airport’s curb appeal to local residents, and make it South Texas' general aviation facility of choice, says City of San Antonio Aviation Director Russ Handy.
“There’ll be a brand new front door parking lot, a hike-and-bike trail that will link you to the River Walk, the Mission Reach, as well as a brand-new look as you drive in to Stinson with some new signs and some work on the roadways,” says Handy.
A new control tower is also set to begin operations next year.
Stinson is San Antonio International Airport’s relief facility for small- and medium-sized air traffic, and is the country’s second-oldest continually operating airport. In addition to attracting more corporate and recreational aviation business, Handy says, the upgrades are aimed at increasing local awareness of the airport, still unknown to many San Antonians.
He says Stinson’s improvements, as well as proximity to downtown and local entertainment, should prove attractive to private aircraft owners with families looking for a weekend day trip.
“You fly your airplane in, have barbecue at The Big Bib, jump on a rental bike and you can ride all the way to the north side of the River Walk fifteen miles later,” Handy says.
Stinson Airport Manager Morris Martin says ever-growing industrial commerce on the south side is transforming Stinson from a sleepy gathering place for weekend pilots to a destination for corporate aircraft belonging to firms with a presence in San Antonio.
“There’s a synergy out there now. With Brooks City Base next to us, there’s a lot of traffic coming in,” Martin says. “Baker Hughes, Halliburton, Slumber J, Weatherford – all of these companies around us are starting to utilize Stinson, and those are what are going to be of big value to Stinson in the long run.”
Aviation officials also are exploring ways to promote Stinson as an activities venue. The airport terminal has a number of meeting rooms, and has hosted movie nights, aviation days focusing on youth, and a Vietnam living history demonstration.
PHOTO: City of San Antonio Aviation Director Russ Handy briefs members of the city's Transportation Committee during its Dec. 18 meeting on improvements to Stinson Municipal Airport scheduled for completion in 2019. Photo by Morgan Montalvo