McAllen Airport opens $26 million expansion

by Public Information Office | May 05, 2015

McALLEN The McAllen International Airport, to keep up with record growth and better serve a rapidly growing international region, has completed a $26 million terminal expansion project that will accommodate more passengers in a roomier, modernized, more secure setting. 


With the expansion, the airport gains an ample new passenger lobby, new food court areas, new retail space, seating with power outlets at every seat cluster, a newly designed baggage handling system and – critical to the airport’s operation – a relocated and redesigned Transportation Security Administration screening area.


What's more, the new security area will include TSA Pre Check – expediting passenger screening through the upgraded checkpoint. All the new facets were designed with the airport passenger in mind. 


“The McAllen International Airport is a key component for economic development and logistics in the Rio Grande Valley,” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said. “The new expansion also makes it one of the nicest facilities you’ll see in the state. I’m proud to have such a fantastic airport in our city where we catch direct flights every day to cities like Houston, DFW, Mexico City and Las Vegas.” 


Darling added that the airport joins the ranks of other great facilities in the City of McAllen such as the McAllen Public Library, Sports Park, Convention Center and the Performing Arts Center, which is under construction.  


The expansion adds 55,000 square feet to the airport's existing 100,000 square feet putting McAllen International Airport in tip-top shape as summer travels begin. Funding for the $26.4 million project came from a variety of sources including approximately $12.4 million in FAA and TSA funds, $9.6 million in Passenger Facility Charge Bond Revenues and $4.4 million in local funds.


Airport slideshow:   


The Rio Grande Valley’s Congressional delegation played a key part in securing funding for the airport work, including Congressman Henry Cuellar. Congressman Ruben Hinojosa and Senator John Cornyn have also helped fund the airport and worked in Washington with the Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies.


In 2014, McAllen International Airport experienced 11 percent growth over 2013 and had the highest number of enplanements (passenger boardings) in seven years with 390,758. That is some 38,000 more boardings than last year- or about 271 fully-loaded American Airlines MD80 aircraft. It is the busiest airport in the RGV. 


“We could not be more proud to offer such a great facility to all of our McAllen, regional and international passengers,” said McAllen Aviation Director Elizabeth Suarez. “The facility’s expansion allows us to provide great customer service to current users, attract new passengers and becomes a key tool for attracting new air service development opportunities.” 


McAllen is served by American Airlines, United Airlines, Aeromar and Allegiant, and passengers can fly to nonstop to Houston, DFW, Mexico City, Las Vegas and seasonal to Orlando and Los Angeles. 


McAllen International Airport improvements consist of: 


  • New post-security furniture with built-in charging stations for quick charging of electronic devices
  • New Gate 6 area with expanded seating areas.
  • New expanded office suite built to quarter TSA from the existing 1,500 square feet centralizing it to the expanded 3,500 sq. feet. Equipped with modern office, training, conference and break rooms
  • New TSA in-line checked baggage system
  • New TSA Pre Checkexpedited screening program
  • New ticket counters with enhanced architectural features with ceiling mounted monitors equipped to implement the Shared Use Passenger Processing System (SUPPS)
  • New post-security family restroom to provide parents an alternative to the standard restrooms
  • New energy efficient LED parking lot lighting enhancing the illumination of the north parking lot adding more visibility and security
  • New water feature which showcases an integrated light and music display
  • New Coffee Zone Restaurant locations in both the pre-security and post-security areas.
  • New Comfort Zone Bar in the post-security area


Also, by adding three new rental car companies, McAllen International Airport patrons will now find convenient, on site rental locations for: Avis, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless and Thrifty and rental car companies.


Further ahead, in the summer of 2015 customers can expect added parking amenities including: the addition of a third exit lane, a second attendant booth, and sheltered exit areas. By winter of 2015, McAllen International Airport will complete a $10 million Runway Safety Area Improvement project which will maximize the overall safety of the airport’s runway. 


Also part of the grand opening will be the unveiling of the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic exhibition of art. “Making a Mark” is an exhibition by children touched by cancer and blood disorders at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers presented by The Periwinkle Foundation.  


This extraordinary exhibit features the works of young artists from the Rio Grande Valley whose lives have been affected by childhood cancer and blood disorders and provides a unique focus on their personal issues. The exhibit opened to the public at McAllen International Airport on May 1, 2015; and will remain on exhibit at the airport until May 31, 2015.   


The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer and Hematology Clinic, a joint effort of the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Cancer Center, has treated over 7,500 children since opening in 2001. The clinic is the only fully comprehensive pediatric cancer treatment facility in the Rio Grande Valley and never denies lifesaving treatment to a child due to inability to pay.