Multimillion-dollar plan in store for San Antonio International Airport by 2040

Phase one will consist of adding a new terminal and more parking and ground transportation

SAN ANTONIO – The city of San Antonio’s Aviation Department is hoping to upgrade and expand the San Antonio International Airport with a multimillion-dollar plan leaders hope to have completed by 2040.

The city named the plan “The Airport You Deserve.” Officials say the growth will be specifically designed to accommodate the city’s projected growth of 4 million people 20 years from now.

The earlier days of the pandemic paused the plan, but it is now in full swing.

“It is one of the beauties of working in the airport industry,” said Jesus Saenz, the Aviation Department director. “You are never done. You are always working, and you are always planning. We want to ensure that we have the right airfield for the future. We are looking at the terminal complex and the total number of gates and capacity of where we have to grow in.”

That also includes an upgrade in parking and ground transportation and upgrades to Terminal A and B.

“Trying to reach further destinations internationally,” he said. “Looking at the level of service and services we provide in the terminal complexes. We are going to improve all of those.”

City officials say, on average, the number of passengers the airport has per year is about 10 million. By 2040, they project that number to grow to 15 million or more.

The first phase will also include adding a Terminal C with more parking, ground transportation and upgrading technology.

In total, the city is looking to spend between $800 million and $950 million, which would be funded by passenger fees, Federal Aviation Administration funds, airport bonds, and grants.

During an open house even, several people came out to see the plans.

“My major concern is noise,” said Mark Moore, who lives next to the airport. “I am here for the sanity of my neighborhood and peace and quiet yet a working relationship with the airport.”

Another resident said he hopes San Antonio’s artistic culture is considered in the design.

“One of the calling cards of San Antonio is its beauty,” said David Matiella. “I think there is consideration with regard to the arts of San Antonio, and I think if you bring that same level of design and imagination, you can surprise and wow people in their first impression when they get to the airport.”

The 2040 plan has been in the works since 2018.

Since then, the city officials have been adjusting their plans as people bring up concerns through public meetings.

“The size of the terminals,” said Saenz. “How do we make them bigger and ensure we have enough gates, and how do we ensure we have enough capacity for international traffic and future international traffic and to grow to that.”

Another open house will be held virtually this Thursday.

You can find out how to view the livestream and submit your concerns through the airport’s website at www.sanantonio.gov/SATfuture.

The Aviation Department will bring the plans before the city council on Nov. 10.


About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.