San Antonio Airport System awarded $20 million from FAA  to start new terminal

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The Federal Aviation Administration is awarding a $20 million grant to San Antonio International Airport’s Terminal Development Program (TDP).

In a release, airport administration says the money will go toward the cost of building the Ground Load Facility (GLF) in Terminal A, which will add capacity through five new ground gates. Ultimately, the GLF will allow for new routes by both existing and new airlines.

“We hope this is the first of several major investments by the FAA in our Terminal Development Program,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “I want to personally thank Senator John Cornyn, and Congressmen Joaquin Castro, Henry Cuellar, Lloyd Doggett, Tony Gonzalez and Chip Roy for making their support for our airport and our community’s vision known to the FAA. We look forward to celebrating this victory when they return from Washington.”

SAT’s Ground Load Facility, which was designed by Adkins, will be built south of Terminal A. The pre-engineered metal building structure will include modern passenger facilities in the estimated 37,000 sq. ft. interior space, such as:

  • Five new ground gates
  • Integrated Federal Inspection Station for international arrivals
  • Two levels of seating areas for passengers
  • Dedicated charging stations for electronic devices, workstation areas, high tabletop stations, and a lactation room
  • Additional food and retail options

Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2022, $5 billion was allocated to the FAA to provide competitive grants for airport terminal development projects that address the aging infrastructure of the nation’s airports. Of that, $750 million over five years was dedicated for medium hub airports, such as San Antonio International Airport. This is the second round of the five-year competitive grant program, and SAT succeeded in securing $20 million of the $150 million available in FY 23 for medium hubs.

San Antonio International Airport Terminal Development Program – Interior

City and airport leadership, including Mayor Nirenberg, City Manager Walsh, Airport Director Saenz and Government Affairs Director Sally Basurto, have traveled to Washington, D.C. numerous times over the past year to advocate for the airport and its grant applications. SAT’s partners, including the Mayor-appointed Air System Development Committee and Council-appointed Airport Advisory Commission, have provided letters of support and met personally with members of Congress to support the application. Ultimately, the application received bipartisan support from the San Antonio delegation.

“This BIL funding is fantastic news for our community,” said Jesus Saenz, Director of Airports, SAAS. “A Ground Load Facility gives us the capacity to expand and accommodate more domestic and international flights – which can lead to more options for competitive fares for our passengers and helps us grow as we continue to expand and attract new airlines. This is one of the opportunities to solidify our plans to create the airport of the future.”

The GLF project is 30 percent designed and currently undergoing solicitation for the construction of the facility. City Council consideration of the recommended contractor is scheduled for May 2023, with construction on enabling projects, such as relocating an existing fence, foundation, site work and utilities to begin in June or July. Construction on the facility itself would likely begin in early 2024 with a completion date of March 2025.

“We’ve said all along that the timing of our expansion is perfect because it coincides with the federal government’s historic investment in the nation’s airport infrastructure, particularly airports that are energy efficient and accessible to all users,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “I’m really proud to see the hard work of our team paying off.”

Recent federal funding awarded to the City of San Antonio:

  • $20 million Airport Terminal Program
  • $11.9 million Airport Improvement Program
  • $1.5 million in FY 23 Federal Budget for electric airport buses and charging infrastructure
  • $25.5 million Centers for Disease Control grant to Metro Health Department
  • $4.4 million for Safe Streets for All for Zarzamora Street improvements
  • $2.9 million for apprenticeship program for Workforce/SA Ready to Work

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