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Austin airport sees record number of travelers in 2023

People with suitcases walk through the main terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Michael Minasi
KUT News
More than 22 million travelers passed through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport last year.

A record 22 million-plus travelers hopped on or off a flight at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport last year. The record beat the airport’s previous record set in 2022 by more than a million people.

Austin resident Leigh Boudreaux said she travels through the airport every month or two for work and has never had an issue with the crowd. She attributes that to when she travels — opting for afternoon flights over early morning ones.

“I’m not here during the holiday times and the busier times of the year where people are coming in for South By or the races or things like that," she said.

Holiday travel may be on the rise. While July was the airport's busiest month, with more than 2 million travelers, December was the busiest December on record, with 1.8 million fliers.

Austin resident JD Florence said while traveling through ABIA is a good experience overall, it has gotten worse in the last couple years.

“It definitely feels overcrowded,” said Florence, who travels weekly for work. “The airport has definitely got more people. The lounges have more people. The restaurants [have more people]. You feel the pinch, for sure.”

The City of Austin's Aviation Department has launched a $4 billion airport expansion with the goal of boosting ABIA's annual capacity to 30 million travelers. One of the biggest additions, expected to be complete sometime around 2030, is a new concourse opening with 10 to 20 gates and space for up to 40.

Before the concourse can be built, ABIA needs new taxiways — roads for planes to move between runways and the rest of the airport. The city recently finished demolishing about 40 buildings near the South Terminal to make space for those roads. The South Terminal will close as early as 2026 to be demolished for the project.

Some expansion work has already been completed — like renovated restrooms at the concourse food court and Gate 13, a ground-level gate meant for passengers on diverted flights when other gates are occupied.

Projects underway include the addition of 84,500 square feet at the far west end of the Barbara Jordan Terminal near gates 33 and 34. TSA Checkpoint 3 closed last week for a plan to add at least four screening lanes and more space for an outbound baggage processing system. The baggage system will be able to handle more than twice as many pieces of luggage per hour.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
Sangita Menon is a general assignment reporter for KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @sangitamenon.
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