Future airport changes will accomodate Space X needs

News Center 23

POSTED: Friday, August 8, 2014 - 4:50pm

UPDATED: Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 1:44pm

The Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport is one of the Valley's main travel hubs. Built in 1979, t his terminal has seen a significant increase in the amount of people coming through over the years.

"The growth of the airport, the number of enplanements, the number of passengers coming in and out, is now exceeding the capacity of this terminal, or getting close to it," said airport director Larry Brown.

In fact, it's growing so much, the airport has broken a new record since it first opened in 1929.

"The actual number of enplanements out of this airport last year is the highest it's ever been in 85 years," said Brown.

Last year, almost 101,000 passengers used the airport.

And now that Brownsville is in the spotlight for Space X, airport officials and Brownsville city officials tell me that it's high time to build a new, bigger terminal with four gates, and lengthen the runway.

"First of all updating the airport was an essential as far as I'm concerned," said Brownsville mayor Tony Martinez.

"We are looking forward to being the airport of choice, if you would, for Space X considering our proximity to the site and so forth," said Brown.

One of the benefits of extending the runway behind me is that fully-loaded cargo planes carrying equipment for Space X will actually have space to land.

"The lengthening of the runway came about during the negotiations with Space X because we found out that some of the equipment and materials they bring in...you know, our airport couldn't accommodate it," said Mayor Martinez.

And with the new airport, officials expect more people to be in the area in general.

"It just stands to reason that if you have an attraction like this, it's going to attract people for various reasons," said Mayor Martinez.

"Our goal right now is to have a new terminal in operation January 2018," said Brown.

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