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Old Posted Sep 28, 2020, 8:33 PM
ILUVSAT's Avatar
May the Schwartz be w/ U!
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: S.A. | Nashville
Posts: 960
Originally Posted by Paul in S.A TX View Post
San Antonio is the most visited city in Texas attracting 38 million annual visitors versus 22 million for Houston. Being a HUB raises a cities profile and definitely brings the best air service and higher passenger activity. Something SAT probably will never achieve if it doesn't think big.
First, DFW had almost 50 million visitors in 2019 (25+ million of which visited the City of Dallas). And, I believe he 22 million for Houston was only visitors to the City of Houston.

I take those numbers with a huge grain of salt. And, the way they are compiled is different in every metro. The vast majority of San Antonio's visitors are day trippers.

Second, SAT will never be a true/large HUB for a legacy airline (a ULCC - maybe). And, it is up to a specific airline on whether or not to HUB an airport. SAT cannot build its way into a HUB. Even if they tried, how would they pay for it without the commitment of an airline?

Additionally, in the post-COVID environment, airlines are not going to create new HUBs - rather, they are going to strengthen the ones they have (and/or eliminate smaller ones).

Originally Posted by Paul in S.A TX View Post
Going on that notion of thinking big, should SAT try to build another airport? I wonder if a San Antonio/Austin airport would ever be a possibility? If that were to ever happen in the future I can see it becoming a hub for a major airliner.

SAT will always be a midsized airport because of its landlocked location and competition with ABIA that draws people from San Antonio. I know this for a fact because I saw an ABIA shuttle bus on I-35 between Shertz and New Braunfels. I've even flown out of ABIA once.

There will be a time when there is 8 million people living along the S.A./Austin corridor and served only by two mid sized airports.

An S.A./Austin airport joint venture would be the epitome of thinking big?
I would agree with the notion of thinking "big." Heck, shoot for the moon and be happy with just getting into orbit.

A new airport in SA is definitely a possibility. But, again, how would you pay for it? A PPP with one of the bases in town could be beneficial.

Nonetheless, a true/large HUB is not in the cards for San Antonio. As far as the legacies go, American is not going to create a HUB ~250 miles south of its main HUB; United is not going to develop one ~195 west of theirs at IAH. Southwest already has two HUBs in Texas and Delta has already indicated the possibility of ramping up operations out of AUS. However, in the post-COVID environment - we'll see what becomes of those plans.

With regard to a Austin/San Antonio airport...please give up. It's never going to happen. Austin pushed the idea with leaders of San Antonio back in the 1980's and again in the mid-1990's - in both instances, SA shot them down.

Additionally, airport leaders in Austin have already publicly said they don't need a new airport between the two cities. AUS's growth has been phenomenal and they have plenty of land to expand (it's not a mid-tier airport anymore). Heck, pre-COVID, they were working toward beginning a $4 billion expansion to the airport - set to have begun in 2021 with a completion in 2025 (phase 1) and 2027 (phase 2). That plan has been pushed back by 2-3 years.

***Bottom line, I like the direction the mayor and the aviation department are heading. A new terminal is needed and I hope they can achieve it. I too, agree that a look at NOLA's new terminal is warranted. However, don't copy their process - it was riddled with delays and cost overruns.
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