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Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Plans Expansion As Air Traffic Soars

Julia Reihs
Sixteen million people are expected to travel through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in 2018.

Take all the people who live in New York City. Multiply that by two, and you'll get the number of passengers who are expected to travel through Austin's airport this year: 16 million.

That's a lot.

By 2040, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport staff estimate, that number will nearly double, and ABIA will begin processing more than 31.4 million passengers annually.

Luckily, the city is planning for them.

Austin City Council members are scheduled to vote Thursday on sending the airport's 20-year master plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for review.

Credit Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
An artist's rendering of the new north terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Here are some highlights from that plan:

  • A new north terminal for drop-off, ticketing and baggage claim
  • A new concourse at the rear of the airport, which would add 32 gates
  • A pedestrian bridge connecting the current terminal to the new concourse
  • An open-air plaza with playgrounds, seating and food and drink
  • 1,000 additional parking spaces

ABIA staff estimate the new north terminal and pedestrian bridge will be built by 2025.

Credit Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
The master plan includes an open-air plaza with playgrounds, seating and food.

“We need those gates desperately in order to accommodate the demand from the airlines to put more service into our market,” ABIA Executive Director Jim Smith told council members Tuesday. “In addition, we need more ticket, baggage space, security space to process that many more passengers.”

The construction would be paid for with airport revenue and federal grants, so it wouldn't rely on City Council approval. An ABIA spokesperson said there is no total cost estimate yet, but city staff estimate the first 10 years of construction will cost roughly $4 billion.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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