San Antonio City Council voted May 18 to approve plans for a new ground load facility and other improvements at the San Antonio International Airport.

The council agreed to allow the San Antonio Aviation Department to negotiate and execute a design-build services contract with Hensel Phelps Construction Co. for the ground load facility in Terminal A, a project that will bring five new ground gates, an inspection station for international travelers, more seating, charging stations, and food and retail options.

“We’re excited to get started on the [ground load facility],” airport Director Jesus Saenz said in a statement. “This is a greatly needed step in our expansion. It will bring more flight options for domestic and international travel as we continue to see a high demand for that.”

Construction on enabling projects, such as the relocation of an existing fence, foundation, site work and utilities, will begin in the summer, city officials said, adding work on the ground load facility itself is slated to start in early 2024 with a completion date of March 2025.

Council also awarded a construction contract to Cram Roofing Co. for the Terminal A roof recover project, which will provide additional energy efficiency to the terminal facility and extend the life of the roof, a news release said.

Additionally, council approved a two-year funding agreement for modernization upgrades to the lower-level controls for the baggage handling system. In October, the city completed work on the upper-level controls, the release states.

City officials said these and other initiatives are part of a long-range, multiyear strategic development plan designed to expand, modernize and improve the north San Antonio airport to enhance the experience for recreational and business travelers.