If you’re headed out on an American or Continental airlines flight from San Antonio on Tuesday, make sure you head to the new Terminal B at the airport! SAT officials announced last week that the new terminal would open for business on November 9th. An overnight move of airplanes, computers, and other equipment and supplies will take place the night before. Additionally, the airport’s signage will be changed that night reflecting the new Terminal B as well as the “rebranding” of Terminal 1 to Terminal A. In fact, all new signage has already been installed on the airport’s roads with temporary plates covering the new terminal designations.
The completion of Terminal B essentially marks the end of this phase of construction at SAT, which included extention of the two-tiered road system, a centralized baggage screening system, and a new parking garage. Future construction will include a third terminal (Terminal C), which originally was supposed to start construction now and be done in 2012, but which was put on hold due to the economy and the uncertainty over future air traffic volumes. Officials have said they will reevaluate the need in a couple of years.
In the meantime, demolition of the old Terminal 2 is scheduled for early 2011. Until it’s gone, the new terminal will be operating with just seven of its eight total gates as part of the old terminal is in the way of one of the gate areas. Also, work will begin soon on some additional renovations for Terminal A, especially once the baggage screening machines are removed from the lobby area thanks to the new centralized “back-of-the-house” baggage screening system. Look for that work to be completed during the first part of next year.
A few weeks ago, an open house for the new terminal was held. I took the tour and was impressed– the new terminal is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. It’s open and airy, has good signage, and features the same two-level functionality of Terminal 1/A. The art installed throughout the building reflects San Antonio’s history, but isn’t overreaching. The lobby and baggage claim areas are also much more roomy than the old terminal– in fact, the baggage claim area is even better than the one in Terminal 1/A in my opinion. What I probably liked most is the view from the end of the terminal where you can see right out onto the main runway and have a front row seat to watch the planes land and take off.
In other recent airport news, officials announced the closing of the economy parking lot. It will become a consolidated car rental center for a few years. When Terminal C is built, a new garage will be built in front of that terminal that will include space for the car rental agencies.