ABIA

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.

Paulo Martins for KUT News

The Austin City Council wrapped up its Thursday meeting at 3:45 a.m. Friday morning.

Council members rejected a proposal to build a $5 million temporary customs and immigration processing facility at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

They postponed until August a discussion on ordinance changes for short-term housing rentals.

City of Austin

The Austin Airport Advisory Commission signed off on construction of a $5 million temporary terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to expedite expected flights for this November’s Formula 1 race.

The commission voted yesterday to recommend a contract with Siemens Industry Inc. to construct “a temporary customs and immigration processing facility” at ABIA.

Although the terminal is billed as temporary, the contract with Siemens includes three year-long extensions for maintenance. In a presentation, Siemens bills the terminal as good for five years of operation.

KUT News

The Austin Airport Advisory Commission votes tonight on the construction of a $5 million temporary customs building at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The proposed add-on would open in November of this year, and is scheduled to close 24 months later. 

An airport spokesman says the extension is necessary to keep traffic flowing smoothly through the airport during this fall’s Formula 1 race and beyond. 

KUT News

Austin has made yet another “best of” list. This time, it’s Austin-Bergstrom International Airport that’s getting the accolades — or more precisely, the ABIA outpost of The Salt Lick.

That’s right — the website Food Republic ranks The Salt Lick at ABIA as Number Four on its list of “The World’s Best Airport Restaurants.”

The website says:

Texas barbecue doesn’t get much better than Salt Lick BBQ and an outpost of the preternaturally popular 800-seat restaurant in Driftwood is located in the West Terminal (but fills the entire airport with the bewitching scent of brisket). Try a sloppy, but satisfying, pulled pork sandwich topped with slaw and Original Recipe barbecue sauce for a taste of Hill Country on the tarmac.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/ajanhelendam

If Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) seemed crowded last time you flew, there’s a reason for that: ABIA announced a record travel year for 2011, with over nine million total travelers. That’s a five percent bump over last year’s takeoffs and departures.

Southwest Airlines leads the pack, with 3,325,925 passengers served out of ABIA. American Airlines came in second at 1,867,087.

Photo by I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

It’s the busiest week of the year at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and the holiday rush comes on top of a large increase in annual traffic at the airport.

Traffic over the entire year is up by about six percent. That’s 25,000 passengers a day, on average. Of course, it’s even busier during the holidays. Spokesman Jim Halbrook says it’s taking some passengers up to an hour to get through security. 

Image courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration.

The first of four new body scanners has arrived at Austin’s airport, courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials say the scanner is not yet operational. They did not have specifics of when it would be, but a news release said they would be up and running "over the coming days."

Body scanners are controversial. Some state lawmakers have called them a violation of privacy. But the TSA says Austin is getting new so-called Advanced Imaging Technology machines. They do not use X-rays, and they come equipped with new software which officials say is less invasive.

No, it’s not an area where cell phones wait, like some people might muse.

A cell phone waiting area is a free parking lot at the airport where you wait until your friend or family member calls to say they’re ready to be picked up. That way, you won’t have to circle around burning up gas, waiting for them to claim their luggage.

It’s not exactly a new idea.

USA Today identified cell phone waiting lots as “commonplace” back in 2006. Such lots already exist at airports in Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix and Reno, just to name a few locations.

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Texas airports are feeling the effect of a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. Funding for the agency expired on Friday because of disagreement among federal lawmakers. Two major projects were halted today and more than 250 workers were temporarily laid off this morning.

Almost all of the 267 furloughed Texas employees work in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. None worked in Austin. The FAA employees were responsible for coordinating grant money and overseeing airport construction planning across the state.

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

A large area of rain and thunderstorms moved into Central Texas this morning bringing much needed moisture to our drought stricken region.  Almost two inches of rain fell at Camp Mabry this morning with another one to two inches on the way. A flood advisory was issued until noon.

Photo by KUT News.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was ranked the third-best airport in North America by the Airport Service Quality Awards.  According to a press release from ABIA, this is the fifth consecutive year that the airport has been recognized.

Photo by KUT.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is seeing some flight delays and cancelations in the midst of the arctic weather impacting much of the U.S.  Several flights have been delayed up to several hours, and at least a few departing flights have been canceled. 

Remember to call your airline or check your flights online before you head to the airport.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The two-day winter storm has ended in the northeast, but the effort to dig out from the snow is still going strong. Some flights to the region from Austin are still being canceled and the Wall Street Journal reports that it could take days to clear the backlog of travelers.

Several factors stood to delay a full resumption of flights, including the need to plow gates and get airport staff and flight crews back in place.

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JetSuite
Image courtesy JetSuite

It might be too down market for the ultra-rich who read magazines like Elite Traveler and JetSet, but those who live off a mere seven-figures a year may be interested in a new service coming to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

ABIA
courtesy flickr.com/dawilson/

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials are scrambling to deal with longer security lines brought on by the continued growth in passenger traffic. Meanwhile, the Transportation and Security Administration began implementing more "thorough" pat-down procedures at the beginning of the month.

Image courtesy Dave Wilson http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawilson/

President Obama is scheduled to speak at 3:15 pm CST today about a potential terrorism plot being investigated on three continents. The scare involves suspicious packages shipped on cargo planes from Yemen to the United States, reports Philadelphia's ABC affiliate WPVI.

The investigation included two planes at Philadelphia International Airport. Officials tell Action News that a total of six packages were removed from the planes there.
 

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