BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The first flight has taken off under the brand spanking new terminal at the Brownville/South Padre Island International Airport.

A United Airlines plane left at 7 a.m. today (Wednesday) for Houston, unofficially inaugurating the $50 million terminal.

It took two years to build the facility which now looks like a futuristic place for travelers flying in and out of Brownsville which boasts the newest of three major terminals in the Rio Grande Valley.

The other two are Valley International Airport in Harlingen and McAllen International Airport.

Wednesday’s flight from Brownsville took place a little more than a month after the terminal was unveiled before a small group of officials.

Francisco Partida, the airport special projects manager, said the reason behind that was because they were still furnishing and equipping the place.

Also, United and American airlines wanted to have a little more time to relocate their operations.

The terminal is part of an $80 million project that includes a rehabilitation and relocating on a roadway and the demolishing of the old terminal built in the 1970s.

The Brownsville airport was originally dedicated in 1929.

 The demolition project is the last of three phases and it’s expected to take place sometime this year.

Partida said the new terminal has been completed and it’s now ready to serve the passenger industry.

Funding for the projects came from a combination of the City of Brownsville and the Federal Aviation Administration, with each entity footing 50 percent of the cost.

The terminal puts Brownsville at the forefront of the three Valley airports due to the fact it’s now the newest and more aesthetically pleasing facility in this region of the Lone Star State.

Construction of the project started at a time the airport was experiencing a nearly 100 percent increase in passenger boarding.

For example, from January through August of 2019 some 109,000 passengers used the airport, compared to a little more than 91,000 during the same period a year before.

However, 2020 was a different year due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus which was declared a pandemic on March of that year.

That took a toll on all commercial sectors, including the traveling industry.

In spite of that, construction of the new terminal kept on going until it was completed.

Partida said they are planning to hold a couple of open houses in the near future.

That, however, will take place once the current health situation changes and things return to normalcy.

In the meantime, passengers flying in and out of the BSPIIA will continue taking advantage of brand spanking new terminal.

“This is an exciting day, a day we’ve been working towards for many years,” said Bryant Walker, aviation administrator for Brownsville-SPI International Airport.

Walker said once the old terminal is removed jet bridges will be installed to the new terminal.

“Removing the old terminal will be very quick in comparison to building the new terminal. It will be a few months compared to years,” said Walker.

The fun part is being able to experience a 21st century airport terminal,” he said. “But also keep in mind to check with for updates.” Currently, only ticketed passengers are allowed to enter the terminal. 

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