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Published on Tuesday, September 17, 2019

August Presents Challenges & Opportunities to San Antonio International Airport

CONTACT: Rich Stinson, O: 210-207-1509
C: 912- 433-2329,
Tonya Hope, O: 210-207-1515
C: 210-400-7428


San Antonio (September 17, 2019) – August presented a month of challenges and opportunities to the team at the San Antonio International Airport. SAT opened the “Sebastian in San Antonio” exhibit as a part of its Galleries at SAT art program and the City of San Antonio’s efforts to celebrate the 50-year career of famed Mexican artist Sebastian – creator of San Antonio’s iconic “Torch of Friendship” located in the heart of downtown San Antonio. SAT’s more than 3-year run of consecutive record-breaking passenger growth came to an end at the hands of Hurricane Dorian and the Boeing 737-MAX grounding, while the environmental team at SAT continues to serve as an industry leader with its environmental stewardship and recycling program.


The Galleries at SAT unveils seven works of art from famed Mexican artist Sebastian


The Galleries at SAT is a proud participant in the City of San Antonio’s “Sebastian in San Antonio: 50+ Years / 20+ Sites / 100+ Works” art exhibit to honor famed and internationally recognized Mexican sculptor Enrique Carbajal – better known as Sebastian.


The city-wide exhibit is an opportunity to showcase San Antonio’s welcoming and artistic culture. Sebastian is the creator of the “Torch of Friendship,” the iconic city centerpiece located at the intersection of Alamo and Commerce Street. The torch is a symbol of the longstanding friendship and history between San Antonio and Mexico.


The city-wide exhibits will feature more than 100 sculptures and other works and will be on display through May 2020 in more than 20 locations accessible to residents and visitors to San Antonio. The displays at SAT include seven sculptures and posters in the Level 0 corridor in the terminal entrance from the short term parking garage, as well as various locations on the exterior of the terminal building that can be seen as you arrive to the airport.


The Galleries at SAT has become a wildly popular attraction to passengers traveling through SAT and is one of several enhancements to SAT’s passenger experience. Under the direction of SAT’s Arts and Culture Manager, Matt Evans, the passenger experience at SAT now includes live entertainment from local San Antonio musicians, works of art in various themed, curated exhibits, and a series of seasonal and cultural events hosted by the airport to include Fiesta Parades, SAToberfest and the celebration of Dia de los Muertos.


“We are excited to join the City of San Antonio in displaying sculptures and posters from Sebastian,” stated Matt Evans. “He is one of the world’s foremost sculptors – known around the world – and it is fitting to host his work at SAT to solidify the spirit of friendship that our city and culture represent.”


For more information on the “Sebastian in San Antonio” exhibit, visit or call 210-207-ARTS.


Uncontrollable and Unforeseen Circumstances End SATs Unprecedented Growth Streak


All good things must come to an end, and August ends the streak of 37 consecutive months of record-breaking passenger growth at SAT.


A total of 874,121 passengers traveled through the San Antonio International Airport during the month of August, representing a negligible decrease of 0.9% compared to August 2018. After the airport had experienced more than three straight years of record-breaking passenger growth, unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances led to the month of August falling less than 1% short of yet another record-breaking month.


Significant contributing factors to the decrease in passengers include the continued grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, as well as a very slow-moving Hurricane Dorian which led to an extended period of cancelled flights departing SAT to Orlando due to inclement weather. The month of August also saw the discontinuing of temporary, seasonal flights offered by Frontier airlines, which contributed to decreased capacity. A combination of all of these factors prevented what was expected to be a 38th consecutive straight month of record breaking passenger growth.


“We were very disappointed to see the streak end – it was definitely something we looked forward to announcing every month,” stated Russ Handy, Aviation Director. “The airline industry is very fluid, and we knew the month of August would present us with challenges as the MAX grounding and hurricane season began to overlap. Even with these uncontrollable factors, we were still hopeful we would reach a 38th consecutive month, but fell less than 1% short.”


Domestic air traffic saw 832,062 passengers, a slight decrease of 1.3% compared to August 2018. Air cargo also experienced a 2.8% decrease with 23,866,329 pounds of air cargo moving through SAT, while year-to-date air cargo totals remain up by 4.3%. Despite the domestic passenger and air cargo decreases, international passenger traffic increased by more than 8% with a total of 42,059 passengers, largely driven by Interjet capacity increases in their flights to Mexico. This 8% growth in international passengers in the month of August occurred despite a 3% decrease in scheduled international capacity. International passenger traffic is up 13% year-to-date, and SAT continues to see positive indicators for continued increases in international traffic.


The Boeing 737 MAX grounding continues, and it is unknown when the aircraft will return to the flying inventory of airline carriers. The grounding of the aircraft has led to a slowing of seat capacity, and two SAT carriers – American and Southwest – have made adjustments to their schedules at SAT. These adjustments have resulted in reductions in route frequency and the temporary suspension of some routes until the grounding can be resolved.


Despite the end to the record-setting, SAT remains on pace to finish the calendar year at a 20% increase in passengers since 2016. “We fully anticipate another record year here at SAT – without a doubt,” stated Handy. “If our current demand continues, our projections indicate a 4%-5% increase in passengers from 2018. We have set the bar very high at SAT – and the airport team is focused on eclipsing the 37 consecutive month record!” said Handy.


San Antonio International Airport stands as a leader in environmental stewardship


Have you ever wondered what role SAT plays in protecting our environment? Although the installation of bottle refilling stations – to help passengers refill and reuse water bottles – is an outward example of the airports efforts toward environmental stewardship, much more occurs behind the scenes. The team at the San Antonio International Airport operates a very innovative recycling program, and it is implemented everyday as more than 10 million annual passengers reuse water bottles or place paper or plastic items in recycling containers.


“Our goal is to make being good stewards of our environment a core component of the operation of the Airport System,” said Russ handy, Aviation Director for the City of San Antonio.


In just 2019, SAT has collected more than:

  • 80 pounds of used batteries
  • 480 tons of used motor oil
  • 3.06 tons of rubber tires
  • 180 tons of rebar175 tons of paper, plastic, glass, cardboard and aluminum


The program even collects and recycles used cooking oil and wooden pallets.


“We are very fortunate to be part of a community that is committed to recycling. It’s an exciting challenge for SAT to continue implementing innovative waste management strategies while seeing so many passengers traveling through the airport,” said Harley Puett, Senior Environmental Protection & Sustainability Officer at SAT.


For more information about the airport’s recycling initiatives, other environmental programs, or a tour of its recycling operations, please contact Tonya Hope at or call 210-207-1515.


Number of views (628)

Author: Melanie Morales (GPA)

Categories: City News, Aviation