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Construction starts next month on three-gate expansion of ABIA's Barbara Jordan Terminal

An illustration showing what the new Barbara Jordan Terminal expansion will look like. The evening view shows planes parked at the terminal and in the distance, the downtown Austin skyline.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
/
City of Austin
ABIA is adding more than 80,000 square feet of space to the west end of the Barbara Jordan Terminal to make space for three more gates. One feature of the expansion will be a public outdoor balcony that overlooks the downtown Austin skyline.

With passenger volumes soaring to all new highs, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is getting ready to start construction next month on a $164 million expansion of the Barbara Jordan Terminal.

The project will add more than 80,000 square feet of space including:

  • three new gates
  • two relocated gates
  • dining areas for concessionaires
  • additional restrooms
  • a children's play area
  • a meditation/quiet room
  • family and nursing rooms
  • a place where pets can pee
  • a new mezzanine with a public outdoor balcony overlooking downtown Austin
An illustration showing a view inside the expanded terminal. Passengers are moving around with their bags in an area with soaring ceilings. A children's play area is on the left. In the distance, a large staircase leads to the mezzanine area.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
/
City of Austin
An illustration of the terminal expansion looking west. The children's play area is depicted on the left with green walls. The design of the play area and the art on the walls is still to be finalized. The large staircase leads up to the mezzanine area with the meditation/quiet space and public outdoor balcony overlooking downtown Austin.

Twelve passenger boarding bridges — those enclosed walkways connecting the terminal's gate to the plane — will be replaced as part of the project.

The soaring glass windows shown in renderings of the expansion will have electrochromic glass, which uses electricity to adjust the level of tint. Airport officials said the pricier glass wound up costing about the same as installing electronic blinds after factoring in maintenance and operation expenses.

An illustration from the mezzanine view looking down on the newly expanded terminal. A woman is sitting on a chair holding a cup of coffee while overlooking the travelers down below. A plane can be seen in flight through the window.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
/
City of Austin
This rendering depicts the view from the mezzanine looking east toward the rest of the terminal.

Kat Quay, a Detroit-based artist with ties to Austin, is working on a proposal for a large art piece on one of the walls. Smaller art pieces will be installed elsewhere.

The expansion will be the biggest buildout of the Barbara Jordan Terminal since a $350 million addition opened in 2019 with nine new gates on the east end of the building.

With ABIA now averaging 266 flights a day, the extra space on the west side of the terminal will give some breathing room to an airport that had eight of its busiest days ever since the start of 2023.

"We are doing this literally to meet the demand that is having us bust at the seams right now," airport spokesperson Elizabeth Ferrer told KUT.

A side-by-side comparison of a satellite image of the west side of the Barbara Jordan Terminal and a site plan showing how the building will be expanded.
Google Maps
/
City of Austin
A satellite view of the west side of the Barbara Jordan Terminal now and a site plan indicating the new expansion area with a dotted red line.

But the Barbara Jordan Terminal's increased gate capacity won't last forever.

Airport officials say they'll eventually need to remove three gates to build an underground tunnel connecting the Barbara Jordan Terminal to a new concourse — part of an even longer-term expansion that would increase the airport's capacity by as many as 40 gates.

The timing for when that could happen is still up in the air, Ferrer said.

A rendering showing a new concourse connected to the Barbara Jordan Terminal by an underground walkway.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
/
City of Austin
A new concourse connected to the Barbara Jordan Terminal by an underground walkway (depicted with the orange line) will add at least 10 and as many as 40 gates to the airport. But the project is in the early stages still, with no design or budget finalized.

Building the new concourse and associated taxiways would require demolishing ABIA's privately run South Terminal, where discount airlines Allegiant and Frontier operate. The city's use of eminent domain to evict Lonestar Airport Holdings — the company running the South Terminal — has become the focus of a legal fight.

Crews will start work in May on the Barbara Jordan Terminal expansion. In June, a temporary construction wall will go up in the terminal between gates 32 and 34.

ABIA plans to keep the same flight schedules during construction, but some arrivals and departures might be shifted to different gates.

The first of the three new gates is scheduled to open in November 2025. The project is set to be mostly completed by March 2026.

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Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at nbernier@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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