Record passenger numbers help SA secure higher federal grant

Stats show passenger, cargo number increases reflected in $2.36 million grant

Record numbers are leading to more money for the San Antonio International Airport's new expansion plan.

Statistics released to KSAT on Tuesday showed an impressive increase in both passengers and cargo and that success is reflected in this year's $2.36 million federal grant.

The airport served more than 887,000 passengers in June alone — the highest monthly number in the airport's history.

That marks the 24th consecutive month of record growth, and sets the airport up for an estimated record of 10 million passengers a year.  

The amount of cargo also increased more than 8 percent over one year, which is nearly double the average growth for North American airports.

"We're creeping up. Keep those passengers creeping up, we will certainly get more money," said San Antonio International Airport Deputy Aviation Director Tom Bartlett.

Bartlett said airports with eligible projects can apply yearly for federal grants. San Antonio's eligible project is its proposed master plan.

The master plan is in its beginning stages. They are just collecting data now to determine which parts of the airport need improvement the most. That could include expanding or adding terminals, adding parking, or working on the airfield. There are many possibilities.

Right now, the $2.36 million is going towards consultants who will come up with several possible plans.

"A year or so from now, we will probably see some rough renderings," Bartlett said.

By then, the airport will have applied for another federal grant. If passenger and cargo numbers keep rising, it'll be for even more money.

Bartlett said with these grants, the federal government typically pays 75 percent, and the sponsor – the airport – pays the other 25 percent. That means for this grant the San Antonio Airport would be paying about $590,000.

About the Author:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.