After more than a year’s worth of delays, renovation of the city’s airport is complete.
More than 150 people gathered outside at the entrance of the San Angelo Regional Airport Friday afternoon to attend a ribbon-cutting.
Airport and city officials gave speeches and the rededication concluded with Mayor Dwain Morrison cutting a red velvet ribbon with a giant scissors beside City Council members and others.
“I’m extremely excited to reach this point,” said Luis Elguezabal, the airport’s director. “It’s been difficult. It took a long time.”
The project began in early 2012 and was expected to be largely completed by spring of 2014, but completion was delayed.
“We had to work with change orders, with changes (while) maintaining our operations all the time,” Elguezabal said. “All of that lead to extra time, but we finished it. And I’m very proud of this facility. It looks wonderful.”
The project cost about $6 million, Elguezabal said, adding that all of the funding did not come out of taxpayers pockets.
The Federal Aviation Administration provided 90 percent of the project’s funding, $500,000 came from the city’s half-cent sales tax revenues — which voters approved to dedicate to the project — and the rest came from a $4.50 airport factuality fee paid by airport passengers, Elguezabal said.
Some renovation features include interior and exterior remodeling such new canopies installed at the entrance and more open space throughout. The baggage claim area was expanded, a new baggage belt system was installed, and there are two restaurants inside. The renovations are meant to improve the airport’s aesthetics and create more space for passenger flow and, hopefully, additional carriers.
Templeton Construction, Inc. was contracted to work on the project.
After the ceremony, attendees mingled inside the airport lobby and students in the mariachi band from Lincoln Middle School performed.
“What have I learned? I need to coordinate a little bit better on the up front, that’s it. Just better coordination,” Elguezabal said. “But would I tackle another terminal renovation. Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m excited.”
Airport officials said they are currently working on trying to attract more carriers, and specifically carriers that fly nonstop to other major cities beside Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
American Airlines is San Angelo’s only carrier currently — with five flights flying per day.
“You have jewel here in San Angelo,” said Elguezabal referring to the renovated airport. “If you haven’t seen it. Please come to the airport and see it.”