GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), which leased up to 40 acres to construct, operate and maintain the low cost terminal at Austin airport, has notified the city it intends to terminate its lease and halt operations.

GECAS has six months to transition the facility back to the department, but it is likely that process will be sped up, says a company spokesman.

The acceleration occurs after the terminal's lone tenet Mexican low cost carrier VivaAerobus plans to end service to Austin on 31 May.

In the meantime, the airport will seek new users for the no-frills south terminal, which will close until another tenant is found, a spokesman for the City of Austin Aviation Department says.

The former National Guard building was renovated and opened in May 2008 for VivaAerobus despite objections from main terminal tenants such as Southwest Airlines.

Southwest argued the new facility's lower fees would give south terminal tenants a significant cost advantage over airlines flying from the main terminal.

The south terminal lacks jetways and requires airlines to share gate-hold areas and ticket counters. The existing, 28,000-square foot (8,534 m) building has three gates, and the terminal ramp can accommodate three aircraft at once.

Earlier terminal plans called for the construction of a larger, replacement facility within four years.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news