City council votes to expand San Marcos airport for further private development

News Reporter

San Marcos City Council voted unanimously Feb. 3 to renew its contract with Texas Aviation Partners, LLC to further fund expansion of the San Marcos Regional Airport.

The contract between Texas Aviation Partners and San Marcos was renewed at the city council meeting for another five years of growth. The original contract ended at the beginning of January after five years. The council had to either renew or scrap the project and funding after the original contract expired.

Councilman Shane Scott, Place 6, said the budget for the expansion has yet to be drafted, and city council is working to create an affordable plan to help fund the growth. Grants have been applied for to help fund the project as well.

“The airport was actually losing money and creating somewhat of a burden for the city in the past year,” Scott said. “As a pilot I see the airport for what it is, and it has a lot of potential to grow. We are happy that we renewed the contract and really hope the airport can benefit the city in a positive way.”

Commercial airlines like Southwest do not currently fly into the city. Only private planes can land at the airport.

Scott said commercial flights are not yet needed, and bringing them in would be unreasonable.

“We need longer runways for starters, and to really start a big commercial airport, by law you need a permanent fire department present at all times,” Scott said. “We currently have a lot of wealthy people flying in from Mexico to shop at the outlets here in the city before they fly back home.”

The airport does not have United States Customs and Border Protection employees, he said. People flying from other countries need to stop in San Antonio or other big airports before getting clearance to land in San Marcos due to the airport’s lack of border security.

“If the airport had a customs station, then people wouldn’t have to make the extra flight to a bigger city,” said Cassidy Berenato, director of Marketing and Business at Texas Aviation Partners. “This would allow people to arrive in San Marcos and give them the opportunity to dine, sleep and shop in the city, benefiting the overall economy of the city.”

The San Marcos establishment is the only place in Texas acting as a “relief airport” for San Antonio or Austin, she said. Flights can land in San Marcos if an emergency occurs in either major city.

“Economically, we need to make the airport as cost-effective as possible,” Scott said. “We can’t afford to discourage businesses from flying here, so avoiding unnecessary landing fees is critical.”