San Antonio International Airport unveils preliminary design plans for new terminal

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Construction could begin as early as 2024 on what will be the third terminal at San Antonio International Airport.

A team of professionals, including San Antonio Airport System (SAAS) Director Jesus Saenz, offered an early look at the new terminal and then took feedback from City Council on Wednesday.

SAAS has been working with international architecture and design firm, Corgan and its project partners. The group includes local award-winning Lake|Flato Architects and airport/transportation planners from Kimley-Horn as the TDP transitions into the design phase. At 15% designed, the preliminary plan includes:

  • Up to a 17-gate expansion, six of which will be able to accommodate both domestic and wide-body international flights
  • More than 850,000 square feet of new terminal space, which will make the new terminal larger than Terminals A and B combined
  • A landscaped, riparian paseo between the curb and the terminal that references the River Walk experience and tells the story of San Antonio’s creeks and spring-fed waterways
  • Outdoor courtyards within the new terminal that offer an opportunity to showcase San Antonio’s 250+ days of sunshine per year
  • Approximately 41,000 square feet of new concessions space (in addition to the existing 24,000 sq. feet) that will allow SAT to feature shops and restaurants
  • More than 29,000 square feet of available club lounge space
  • Larger holdrooms (seating areas) at each gate, equipped with the latest technology
  • A modern Federal Inspections Service area, which will allow SAT to expand international air service
  • Roadway improvements to increase traffic flow and remove congestion along a curb front that will nearly double in length

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the much-needed expansion will strengthen SAT’s competitiveness 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. “The airport is the doorstep to our beautiful city. The paseo, as you enter, will say you’ve arrived in San Antonio. We’re putting San Antonio on the map with every step of this much-needed project. We’re building a world-class airport to give people more options domestically and internationally.”

San Antonio International Airport – Paseo Rendering

Erik Walsh, City Manager, said the TDP budget will be developed over the next year, and there are numerous factors that will impact the final cost, including more detailed designs, negotiations with the airlines and an analysis of the financial capacity of the airport and the City. The City has established a streamlined procurement process with the City Council, which has already shaved months off the development timeline.

“This is the most important capital project in San Antonio’s history. I’m confident in the team we’ve put together and we are ready to make this expansion a reality,” Walsh said. “A modern, vibrant airport makes travel easier for our residents, while also streamlining business travel and attracting more tourism to San Antonio. This modernization of our airport is essential as we expand and add new air service options.”

The design phase of the proposed terminal is expected to continue for the remainder of 2023.

“If all goes to plan, we’ll put shovels in the ground around this time next year,” Saenz said. “When people step off a plane at SAT, there will be no question where they’ve arrived. The thoughtful way nature is being incorporated into the design will make them feel welcomed. And their experience getting through the airport will be even easier than it is now. We are elated to be at this milestone as we make critical decisions regarding the design, the layout and the ease of access that will impact millions of travelers as San Antonio continues to grow.”

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