A baggage handler transports luggage in terminal A. Photo by Scott Ball.
The San Antonio International Airport in June served the highest number of customers during any month in the history of the airport. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The San Antonio Airport System announced Wednesday it is launching a strategic development planning process to prepare for the increasing amount of air travel expected in coming years.

The plan will focus on the next 20 years at the San Antonio International Airport and look at possible growth and expansion in the next 50 years. It is the first such master plan to be developed since 2010, when Vision 2050 recommended terminal renovations and a consolidated car rental facility among other projects.

In the announcement made Wednesday, airport officials said the plan will cover development options and the land use, facilities, and services required for the airport to accommodate projected population growth in San Antonio.

San Antonio gained 24,208 residents between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, according to population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. That amounts to an average of 66 people per day.

“This strategic development plan will be completely data-driven, with input from San Antonio residents and the regional community,” stated Russ Handy, director of the City of San Antonio’s Aviation Department. “Our airport is a driving force in our region’s prosperity and economic development, and this planning effort will allow us to take the lead in securing a prosperous future for San Antonio.”

The City has contracted with the engineering and planning firm WSP-USA to assist the Aviation Department with creating the plan and will host a series of community meetings for public input.

The planning process has two phases. The first will involve meetings with the Airport System Development Committee, appointed by Mayor Ron Nirenberg in January, to hear its recommendations on development options for the airport system.

Those recommendations will guide the second phase of the strategic planning process, which will include identifying and evaluating potential airport expansion alternatives. During that phase of the process, the strategic planning team also will create an airport development and implementation plan and a financial feasibility study.

The San Antonio International Airport served more than 887,000 passengers in June –the highest number of customers served during any month in the history of the airport. June’s passenger statistics also mark the 24th consecutive month of record growth.

In addition, more than 22 million pounds of cargo passed through the airport in June, nearly double the average cargo growth for North American airports.

In the coming months, Aviation Department staff will meet with community stakeholders, neighborhood and housing groups, tourism and economic development organizations, and local and regional businesses and government entities.

Additional outreach activities include working group sessions, pop-up events (Aug. 16 to Sept. 1), and representation at several SA Speak Up community days.

A full schedule of public meetings, along with a community survey open through Sept. 7, is available online. The first meeting is Thursday, Aug. 16, 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Morgan’s Wonderland.

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.