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Commission Clears New Airport Terminal for Liftoff

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.

With the inaugural Circuit of the Americas race coming in November, the terminal is on a tight timeline. Should the project be approved, modular, “turn key” construction means the terminal should be open by November 1.

As KUT News reported earlier this month, ABIA lacks the capacity to process 747 passenger planes, which can hold up to 400 passengers. ABIA Executive Director Jim Smith told the Austin City Council that there’s a good chance the airport would receive several overseas charter flights – but as charters can request airport access up to a month before their flight, ABIA didn’t know how many flights it was facing.

Updated details were among the commission’s backup information yesterday:

We can anticipate from 6 to 10 design group 5/6 aircraft [larger planes including 747s]. This information is based on recent inquiries and information gathered by staff from other airports in cities that have hosted F‐1 events. These charters have capacity for 200 to 400 passengers each. We can anticipate 10 to 30 design group 3 aircraft. This aircraft group has the capacity for 100 to 140 passengers each. We can anticipate in excess of 150 charters with less than 100 passengers.

The Austin City Council is posted for action on the proposal at its meeting this Thursday. 

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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