Planned Airport Facility Seen as Game-Changer for San Antonio
November 14, 2014
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  • City Council has approved the creation of a public/private partnership with Smart Traveling Inc. (STI) for the development of a new general aviation Federal Inspection Station. The multimillion-dollar facility will be constructed at San Antonio International Airport and is seen as a game-changer for San Antonio’s international travel operations.

    The 5,000-square-foot facility will be constructed on a site on the northern end of the airport near Skyplace Boulevard and Nakoma.

    STI plans to invest more than $2 million to design and build the facility. The city’s Aviation Department will construct the access taxiway and ramp area for the facility. STI President and CEO Pablo Hoyos said the new complex will enhance corporate and private aviation and create new economic opportunities in San Antonio.

    Construction on the project is slated to begin in the next several weeks. Target date for completion is late 2015.

    The new facility will address two key issues related to international air travel in San Antonio: The need to separate commercial and general aviation aircraft and to improve general aviation passengers’ experience in the Alamo City when clearing customs. City officials say design work on the planned project is nearly complete.

    “The new inspection facility for international general aviation takes our airport’s commitment to customer service to the next level. From an economic development perspective, the new facility is an asset for San Antonio,” said San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor.

    Last year, San Antonio International processed more than 30,000 international general aviation passengers and more than 6,000 general aviation aircraft arriving in the city through a temporary customs area in Terminal A.

    I reported in June that San Antonio Aviation Department officials were working on a plan to try and secure a new general Federal Inspection Station for general aviation passengers and aircraft.

    “This project aligns with the airport’s priority to provide all of our customers with the very best possible experience, while supporting the city’s goals for economic and business development” San Antonio Aviation Director Frank Miller said.

    STI, a Mexican-owned business, has been a tenant at San Antonio International since 2011, when it opened Skyplace, a Fixed Base Operator facility. STI plans to expand its operations on additional acreage next to the FBO facility. The city’s Aviation Department expects to collect nearly $45 million from STI by 2051 as part of its lease terms with the company.