SAN ANTONIO – How does the San Antonio International Airport fit into the city's future? It's a question a new panel created by the mayor will be asking when it starts work next year.
The panel, which will include at least 15 people, will be led by former U.S. Air Force officer and cybersecurity expert John Dickson of the Denim Group. The panel will be looking at how the city should be investing to improve San Antonio's air service for the future.
"We just want to make sure that as we look out into the future, 50 years from now, are we putting our investments into the airport - in the place that is today, or do we need to be thinking regionally?" Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
Though he said the airport is a "much better airport today than it was even five years ago," he acknowledged a lack non-stop flights has been cited over the years as hampering the city's economic development.
San Antonio International Airport currently lists 42 different non-stop destinations on its website. Meanwhile, the nearby Austin-Bergstrom International Airport boasts 69 destinations.
"We know one of the reasons that AT&T cited for leaving the community was they needed access to more non-stop flights. That’s something we’ve been cognizant of which is why we expanded air service already."
But the mayor thinks the growth of the economy and the airport's development run parallel.
"We have to recognize it's not a people or facilities problem though. One of the issues that we have to be cognizant of is continue to build an educated workforce that demands the jobs that eventually bring the non-stop flights, and were seeing that happening now," he said.