AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Bergstrom International Airport continues to break passenger records and is hoping new projects will help meet the demand.
What You Need To Know
- ABIA saw its busiest Thanksgiving travel week since the airport opened in 1999 this year
- Its original goal outlined in the 2040 Master Plan consisted of 66 gates by 2040, including an additional North terminal
- A new checkpoint location opened in December to help with the flow of passengers on busy days
- Spokesperson for Austin Airport said the airport was on track to deal with the growth, but due to the pandemic, its 2040 Master Plan has turned into long-term plans with no set completion dates
Officials at the airport are having to change their strategy to meet demand. It’s yet another side effect of the pandemic.
“As we double in size with the impacts to our airport because of the pandemic, our growth trajectory has changed a little bit,” said Sam Haynes, the acting public information and marketing manager with ABIA.
ABIA saw its busiest Thanksgiving travel week since the airport opened in 1999 this year. A total 284,198 passengers flew out between Nov. 19-28.
It also broke its single-day passenger traveling record during Formula 1. The airport estimates more than 35,000 people flew through the airport the Monday following the event.
“Following the impacts of COVID-19, which includes impact to passenger travel trends and airport revenues, we re-strategized our approach to kicking off expansion efforts to focus on improvements that can meet the immediate demand we are experiencing,” Haynes said in a statement. “The large infrastructure pieces of the 2040 Master Plan, like the “bump-out” of the Barbara Jordan Terminal and roadway reconfiguration and redesign, are now long-term development plans.”
Its original goal outlined in the 2040 Master Plan consisted of 66 gates by 2040 and included an additional North terminal.
“It’s still a little too early to tell whether we’ll double in size by 2040, but we know that day will come eventually,” Haynes said.
In the meantime, officials are now looking at smaller projects to bring some relief. A new checkpoint location opened in December to help with the flow of passengers on busy days.
ABIA isn’t the only airport looking at expanding. As the population increases in Texas, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport plans to add nine new gates by 2026. The City of San Antonio is also considering a new third terminal.
Before ABIA starts looking at the 2040 Master Plan again, it has to enter a design phase, which Haynes says can take years.
The airport added an Expansion and Development Program to help with those efforts. It’s also planning to hire a new chief development director in 2022.
The Expansion and Development Program will focus on the following:
- Optimization of the Barbara Jordan Terminal
- Enabling airfield and utility work to include building a new Central Utility Plant, electrical substation and remove existing structures to prepare for construction activities
- Preparing for a Midfield Concourse with 10+ new gates and taxiways
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story made mention of project delays due to COVID-19, which were not the case. (Dec. 20, 2021)