ABIA

Texas Airports Led in 2014 Firearm Confiscations

Jan 27, 2015
TSA/tsa.gov

Three Texas airports made the Transportation Security Administration's 2014 top ten list for firearm confiscation at security checkpoints.

Dallas-Fort Worth was at the top of the list; 120 guns were discovered in travelers' carry-on luggage at DFW airport in 2014. Over in Houston, George Bush Intercontinental came in at No. 4 with 77 confiscations, and William P. Hobby airport was at No. 6 with 50 confiscations for the year.

Overall the TSA discovered a record number of guns in carry-ons at U.S. airports last year: 2,212 firearms were confiscated, roughly an average of six per day. Eighty-three percent of those were loaded at the time.

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that it intends to fine Southwest Airlines $12 million for flying Boeing 737 airplanes without making proper repairs.

Beginning in 2006, Southwest began "extreme makeover" alterations to address cracking of aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said in a news release.

Project Connect

Capital Metro voted Monday to move forward with recommendations from Project Connect. The next steps are deciding who will govern its potential urban  rail operations and where some of the funding will come from. The City of Austin and Capital Metro are both major players.

But while Project Connect moved a step forward, there was a push from the Cap Metro board to take a step back.

After dozens of public meetings and no shortage of criticism, Project Connect arrived at a proposed route for its urban rail that would go from Riverside to Highland Mall. On Monday, Capital Metro Board Chair Mike Martinez asked for analysis on a whole new route, from Austin-Bergstrom International to UT.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport held a full-scale disaster response exercise on its airfield today, allowing first responders to practice their skills using an actual airplane.

The drill involved aircraft, firefighters, EMS responders, medical service vehicles and more. Several volunteers played the role of plane crash victims, complete with simulated injuries. Responders even tagged volunteers' bodies via a triage system, ranking them by the medical attention required.

Daniel Reese for KUT News

Update: Austin City Council members unanimously approved a rental registration program early this morning (Items 11, 12).

Council members were considering two different proposals. One would have required the owners of rental property in certain areas of the city to register. But the proposal the council approved will require rental properties with multiple health and safety violations to be registered – no matter where the properties are located in the city.

The program requires properties on the registration list to be periodically inspected.

KUT News

Update: Austin is getting regular, nonstop service to Europe.

British Airways announced today that it will begin offering transatlantic Boeing 787 flights five days a week, beginning March 2014. The company says it plans to offer daily flights later in the year.

You can read more from British Airways

flickr.com/drmillerlg

Austin’s airport has been cleared for takeoff.

Austin Bergstrom International Airport has been ranked among the country’s best since it opened in 1999. Housing only local shops and restaurants, travelers from around the world can enjoy a Salt Lick BBQ sandwich or a Ruta Maya coffee, even if Austin is only an hour-long layover along their journey.

U.S. Navy

City officials have confirmed that a military training operation took place over Austin today.

A U.S. Navy E-6, similar to a commercial Boeing 707, flew over Austin during a touch-and-go drill, a common exercise in which a pilot lands and takes off again without stopping. The plane was from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. 

ABIA
courtesy flickr.com/dawilson/

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says he’s considering a plan to lease out the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to help pay for future urban rail projects.

The list of airports that have successfully gone private is a short one.

Flickr, David Barrie http://www.flickr.com/photos/addictive_picasso/80085483/

Remember the Sequester? The across-the-board federal budget cuts? Get ready to start feeling the effects the next time you fly. Delays at the Austin airport could become noticeable as soon as Tuesday.

For air traffic controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Administration, mandatory furloughs are in effect: a forced day off for every pay period. That means fewer controllers working airport control towers.

KUT News

Some airline passengers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will soon be able to move through security lines faster. The Transportation Security Administration's pre-screening program starts Tuesday at ABIA.

Pre-check allows qualified, pre-screened passengers benefits, such as keeping their shoes and light jackets on when going through security.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin Water is still working with the fire department to extinguish an ongoing compost fire at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Plant.

The fire started at the waste management facility more than two weeks ago, on Monday, Feb. 25. While water utility officials have seen a reduction of smoke from the smoldering heaps – especially with help from a rainy weekend – the surrounding area still smells.

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority

A new expressway between US Highway 183 and Ben White Boulevard could “eliminate” traffic between the two congested roadways.

But it’ll cost you.  

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) hopes to complete the “Bergstrom Expressway” by 2020 – complete with a six-lane toll road, quicker access to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and shared-use paths for walkers and cyclists. But before the transit agency puts work boots on the ground, they want your opinion.

KUT News

Good morning. The National Weather Service says a Red Flag Warning in effect until 8 p.m. today. The windy, dry conditions mean a high risk of fire in Central Texas. The Travis County Fire Marshal is asking everyone to be careful and to avoid doing things like mowing, welding and outdoor cooking.

Lead Story: The nation is three days into those across-the-board federal budget cuts called the sequester.  And the Secretary of Homeland Security says some of the nation’s bigger airports are already seeing security-line waits up 150 to 200 percent because of immediate cuts to overtime pay.

KUT News

The automatic federal budget cuts known as the sequester are scheduled to go into effect tomorrow.

It would mean a change at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, but one that most of us may not notice.

ABIA could lose a federally employed air traffic controller at a time of night when there are generally no commercial flights, according to a list the FAA released last week.

KUT News

Some travelers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will soon be able to get through security faster.

A Transportation Safety Administration spokesman tells KUT News this morning that ABIA is being added to the TSA’s “Pre Check” Program.

Pre Check allows frequent fliers who’ve met certain requirements to pass through a designated security check point where they may not have to take off their shoes, jackets and belts. They also may not have to remove laptops or liquids from carry-on items.

KUT News

In this week’s Politifact: a fact check that started with a KUT News report.

Emily Donahue with KUT News spoke with Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitFact Texas team. It all started with a KUT News report on Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s push for non-stop flights from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Europe. We quoted Austin lawyer Pete Winstead, who said Austin is the biggest city in the country without a nonstop flight to a European capital.

KUT News

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin faces a chance of strong thunderstorms this morning. The day should warm to a high near 70.

Lead Story: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has a new tenant: Virgin Airlines, which will be operating non-stop flights to San Francisco. And Mayor Lee Leffingwell is among those welcoming the announcement. 

KUT News

This is the kind of Nemo you don’t want to find.

Winter Storm Nemo, which the Weather Channel is calling a possible “record setting blizzard”, is just getting started on the Northeast coast. But it is already contributing to flight cancelations at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Ihwa Cheng/KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport saw more passengers last year than it ever has before. About 9.4 million people departed from or arrived to the airport in 2012. That was a four percent increase from 2011.

ABIA added more non-stop flights last year, including service to Washington D.C., Portland, and Philadelphia. And 200,000 people came through for the Formula One race in November.

But officials say they don’t expect to see the same gains in 2013. 

KUT News

If you’re flying out of Austin for the holidays, be ready to arrive at the airport early and expect long lines.  Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is advising travelers to arrive 90 minutes before their departure time from today through Dec. 21.

Checkpoints open at 4 a.m. to give passengers on the earliest flights ample time to get check their bags and get through security. ABIA has also temporarily opened a fourth security checkpoint to handle the high volume of holiday travelers and reduce security wait times.  

KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport had a record August, according to data released by the City of Austin over the weekend. 

A total of 838,994 passengers traveled through ABIA in August, up six percent from the same time last year. (August is the last month for which the airport has full data.)

United Airlines and its regional carriers saw the most growth in August. They flew 47 percent more passengers than in August 2011.

Daniel Reese for KUT News

Today is historically one of the busiest travel days of the year. KUT News has compiled a list of things you need to know before you hit the roads... or skies.

1. Yes, It May be Busy

AAA Texas estimates that about 3 million people in Texas will hit the road for Thanksgiving—that's up about 1.6 percent from last year.

2. It May Cost You Less to Fill Up

The good news for those travelers is that gas prices across the state continue to fall. The statewide average price for a gallon of unleaded is $3.16. Prices in Austin are slightly higher at $3.19.

Click here to find gas prices near you.

3. You'll Probably See Officers Out

The Austin Police Department and the Department of Public Safety will have more officers on the roads over the next few days. They’ll be targeting speeders and drunk drivers.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport expects about 21,800 people will fly out today. That's far more than this year's Austin City Limits Festival exodus (some 18,000 people on Oct. 15).

ABIA processed more than 9,000 passengers between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. That’s about 3,700 more people than during that same period (actually 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.) last week.

To help with increased demand, airlines added seven flights and sent bigger planes to Austin, adding a total of more than 2,500 seats. Chartered flights included 747 and 767 jets.

The airport expects to stay busy all week as F1 fans continue to fly out and holiday travel begins.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Austin’s first Formula 1 race is now in the record books. McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton won the U.S. Grand Prix.

Thousands of F1 fans are now headed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Officials say today could be one of the busiest days ever at the airport. To help with increased demand, airlines added seven flights today and a total of more than 2,500 additional seats.

The city is expecting heavy traffic around the airport and longer-than-normal screening lines. Airport officials say passengers need to arrive at least two hours before takeoff.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin’s airport certainly looks a lot different from a normal day. There’s additional security, several car service drivers, and a bunch of people in yellow shirts speaking a bunch of different languages.

But it’s not the insane crush many expected for Formula 1.

Despite the anticipated arrival of 18,000 visitors today, “things seem to be running fairly smoothly,” says Jim Halbrook with Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA). “We’ve got customer service representatives throughout the terminal helping people find their way, helping people find their ground transportation." 

flickr.com/terryblanchard

Private jet parking at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is starting to fill up.

Airport spokesman Jim Halbrook says more than 150 private planes, ranging from corporate jets to small, propeller-driven Cessnas, have booked parking places for Formula 1 race weekend. There are still a few spots left. 

Other area airports expect to be busy, including Pflugerville's Austin Executive Airport, and airfields in Georgetown, San Marcos, and Horseshoe Bay.

For those flying commercially, Halbrook says there will be a warm Austin welcome at the baggage claim area. More than 70 volunteer hosts will be on hand to help guide visitors – many of whom will be visiting Austin for the first time – to their ground transportation and destination choices.

Ihwa Cheng for KUT News

As metropolitan economies, like Austin, expand their global reach, international aviation plays a pivotal role—moving passengers from there to here.

But, for the most part, international travel coming into the United States, takes place in many of the same metropolitan gateways. Despite Austin's growing role in technology and other business industries, the city isn't playing a big role in international travel. One major challenge may be the competition provided by bigger Texas cities.

According to a report by The Brookings Institution, 17 areas account for almost three-quarters of all international travel either starting or ending in the U.S. Atop the list of gateway cities is Atlanta, which accounted for more than 6 million international travelers last year.

Ihwa Cheng for KUT News

Mondays are typically one of the busiest days at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. And officials say today will be especially busy—as folks who were in town for the Austin City Limits Music Festival head out.

ABIA officials are expecting longer-than-normal security waits—as much as an hour long. To have time to check in and go through security, the airport is asking everyone to arrive at least two hours ahead of their scheduled flight.

Tweets from early-morning travelers are confirming the airport's predictions:

"Airport is insanely busy today .. Like 400 people waiting in security ..," tweeted @austin_dsouza.

flickr.com/matt_hintsa

American Airlines has one canceled arrival at Austin Bergstrom International Airport this evening. While that may not sound like much – at least not to anyone booked on that flight – it may be symptomatic of a broader problem for Dallas-based American Airlines.

Against the backdrop of a labor struggle, American has seen some 300 flights canceled this week, as according to reports, pilots are calling in sick.

According to CBS News,

American has seen an increase in flight cancelations since early this month, when a federal bankruptcy judge allowed the company to impose new pay and work rules on pilots. The pilots had rejected the company's last contract offer in August.

Those new work rules increase the amount of flying hours on pilots, and allow American to operate more flights through partner airlines instead of American flight crews, according to CNNMoney.

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