San Antonio International Airport and city officials celebrated the completion of a new expansion project with the grand opening of the General Aviation Federal Inspection Station. In 2016, while the new facility was being constructed, the airport processed more than 22,000 international general aviation arriving passengers, and more than 4,200 general aviation aircraft through the temporary customs area in Terminal A. The new facility provides separation of commercial and general aviation aircraft and greatly improves the customer experience for passengers clearing customs, city officials said.
“The new inspection facility for international general aviation elevates our level of customer service and helps attract more international travelers,” City Manager Sheryl Sculley said in a press release. “This project aligns with our mission and vision to offer ongoing prosperity for South Texas and provide a more phenomenal customer experience to our international travelers,” said Russ Handy, the city’s aviation director, in the release.
In an effort to speed up construction of the new 5,000-square-foot facility across the airfield from commercial operations, the city negotiated a public/private partnership with INNOVA Aerospace, which invested more than $2 million to design and build the inspection station. In this 25-year lease agreement, the city’s aviation department constructed the apron and taxiway improvements to provide airside access to the structure, which is located on the northern side of the airfield on Skyplace Boulevard off of Nakoma Road.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will provide agents to process all inbound international general aviation flights while the city will maintain the structure and all associated costs with the exception of staff salaries. This facility is one of many transformative construction projects taking place at San Antonio International Airport. Construction is ongoing on the consolidated rental car facility and short-term public parking garage. The parking portion was slated to be completed months before the rental car sector. The entire facility is slated to be fully operational by December 2017.