A Desire to Move Forward

At San Antonio, redeveloping the terminal complex, customer service top the agenda

“Then we’ll do a full evaluation of Terminal 1/A and identify exactly what we need to do, basement to roof. We’ll have a brand new terminal building — what’s our plan to bring Terminal 1/A to where it does complement what we’ll have with Terminal B?”

The new terminal will match the existing design and have eight gates. Overall, Miller terms the capital development project “very similar as far as terminal construction and basic operational conflicts that you have and how you manage an ongoing daily airport operation around the construction site, and how you try to coordinate the needs of construction with the realities of moving people around the area.”

The airport is directly accessible by Interstate 410, which too is undergoing a massive renovation.

Renegotiating leaseholds
Among the tasks ahead for Miller and his staff at the San Antonio International Airport are extending the east/west runway 1,000 feet; major drainage projects; upgrading airfield lighting; and, some taxiway extension projects that will then allow the airport to develop additional property on the airfield.

At the top of the list is renegotiating the current compensatory lease and use agreement that the city has with the air carriers. Explains Miller, “We just want the opportunity to take a look at how the rates and charges are structured. The intent is to financially position the airport to undertake certain capital projects that we would identify while being sensitive to what cost per enplanement is. That’s always the balancing act that we have to do.

“I think it will be more of a compensatory agreement.”

A trademark of San Antonio International Airport is its mix of aviation businesses, from special general aviation shops to major mod centers. And San Antonio has a long history with the U.S. Air Force, a major presence citywide.

Regarding non-airline tenants, Miller says he plans to do an evaluation of existing leases and airport policies, with a goal of standardization and increased revenue opportunities.
Says Miller, “We think there are opportunities to bring in other types of aviation activities. We are looking at the leases that we have now to make sure that we are generating the amount of revenue that we want to see from that.

“We know there’s some expansion that some tenants want to do. How can we provide that additional land for them? What is the airport willing and prepared to invest in order to create that environment where they will expand?

“I don’t think there’s been a very pro-active approach, as far as trying to market the airport for certain activities. We’ll take a look at that.

“We’re in a situation right now in which I think we need to take a look at our leasing program. Do we need to develop a new program and address issues such as how we proceed with rates and charges?

“We want to come to a standardized way of doing business. If we’re leasing bare ground, what’s that process? If we have someone here that has an investment and has a building, what’s the process for leasing the land?

“I want a leasing program where if someone comes to the airport and, regardless of the staff person they talk to, we know exactly what type of program we have and can provide that information to that prospective tenant and move forward to negotiate a lease.Not only for the international airport but for Stinson as well.”

Air service
Miller says that the new air service focus is on those cities to which there is no current non-stop service among the community’s top 20 destinations. Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, Oakland, and Seattle head up that list.

“We have some very good airlines in San Antonio,” says Miller. “What we really want to focus on is, with the airlines that we have today are there opportunities where they can step in and provide some service to fill some voids? Or, are there other airlines that aren’t serving San Antonio that we could bring in?”

Miller says that in time he expects to take a serious look at providing ground handling services for the air carriers, as a way to potentially increase service for passengers while decreasing costs to the airlines. It’s something he was giving a serious look to at Pensacola, he relates.

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