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Austin–Bergstrom International Airport

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This article is about the current airport open since 1999. For the airport previously serving Austin, Texas, see Robert Mueller Airport.
International Airport
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport logo.png
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport - aerial 01.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner City of Austin
Operator City of Austin Aviation Department
Serves Greater Austin
Opened May 23, 1999
Elevation AMSL 542 ft / 165 m
Coordinates 30°11′40″N 097°40′12″W / 30.19444°N 97.67000°W / 30.19444; -97.67000Coordinates: 30°11′40″N 097°40′12″W / 30.19444°N 97.67000°W / 30.19444; -97.67000
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
AUS is located in Texas
Location within Texas
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17L/35R 9,000 2,743 Concrete
17R/35L 12,248 3,733 Concrete
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 60 18 Concrete
H2 60 18 Concrete
H3 50 15 Concrete
Statistics (2008, 2013)
Aircraft operations (2013) 176,647
Based aircraft (2008) 196
Passengers (2014) 10,718,854

Austin–Bergstrom International Airport or ABIA (IATA: AUSICAO: KAUSFAA LID: AUS, formerly BSM) is a Class C international airport located in Austin, Texas – the capital of Texas, and serving the Greater Austin metropolitan area, the 34th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located about 5 miles (8 km) southeast of Downtown Austin, it covers 4,242 acres (1,717 ha) and has two runways and three helipads. The airport is named after Captain John August Earl Bergstrom, an officer who served for the 19th Bombardment Group.[2]

A total of 10,718,854 passengers traveled through the Austin–Bergstrom International Airport in 2014.[3] The airport is now the 36th busiest airport for total passengers in the United States.[4] Annual passenger total in 2013 increased by 7%, or 700,896 passengers, from the previous record year of 2013. 2014 also saw the addition of British Airways' new route to London Heathrow Airport with nonstop Boeing 787 Dreamliner service being initiated in March 2014, Austin's first ever transatlantic service to Europe. The 787 is currently the largest aircraft to operate scheduled passenger airline service from Austin. Beginning in October 2015 British Airways will replace the current 787 service to London with a larger Boeing 777-200 wide body aircraft.[citation needed]

Currently, there are over 150 daily departures to 47 destinations in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom, with Air Canada restarting service to Toronto, Canada in May 2015.[5] The airport began passenger service on Sunday, May 23, 1999.[6]


Austin–Bergstrom International Airport is located on the old site of Bergstrom Air Force Base. Austin–Bergstrom replaced Austin's Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, opening to the public on May 23, 1999.

The city began considering options for a new airport as early as 1971, when the Federal Aviation Administration proposed that Austin and San Antonio build a joint regional airport. That idea was rejected, as few Austinites supported driving half way to San Antonio to catch a flight. In the 1980s, neighborhoods around Mueller applied enough political pressure to force the city council to choose a site for a new airport from locations under consideration. In November 1987, voters approved a referendum designating a site near Manor. The city began acquiring the land and fighting lawsuits from the Sierra Club and others concerned about the Manor location.[7] The plans to construct a new airport at the Manor location were abandoned in 1991 when the Base Realignment and Closure Commission selected Bergstrom AFB for closure, and gave the nod to the city for it to be used as a civilian airport.

Penn Field[edit]

The first officially sanctioned landing field in Austin was Penn Field. At the Chamber of Commerce's behest, a United States Army delegation came to Austin in 1917 to scout out suitable sites for an airfield to serve the region. After the initial suggestion of Camp Mabry was rejected, a 318-acre (1.29 km2) parcel of land just south of St. Edward's University in South Austin was deemed suitable. Penn Field opened in 1918, named after Austin aviator Eugene Doak Penn, who died while training in Italy during World War I.[8]

Robert Mueller Municipal Airport[edit]

As the need for commercial service became clear in the 1920s, Austin voters supported a bond election to build a municipal airport in the city in 1928. Located a few miles northeast of downtown, the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport served Austin's air traffic needs beginning October 14, 1930, although commercial service would not begin until 1936. The airport was named for Robert Mueller, a city council member who died in 1927.[9]

In the 1950s, developers began building residential areas beneath the flight paths of Mueller and, in parallel, the number of arrivals and departures at the airport increased dramatically because of the growth of the city. Also, at 7,269 feet (2,216 m), the runway at Mueller was too short to handle new planes such as the 747. However, larger aircraft such as American Airlines Boeing 767s and McDonnell Douglas DC-10s as well as Continental Airlines Boeing 720Bs were regularly scheduled into Mueller in the past. Before major expansion at Mueller took place in the 1970s, the departure area consisted of 4 to 5 gates, not enclosed but covered by a large awning. No jetways existed at this time.[10]

Mueller's longest runway was 7,000 feet (2,100 m) and by the late 1990s, the passenger terminal was operating at full capacity with 16 gates.

Robert Mueller Airport remained open for general aviation use through June 22, 1999, at which point it was closed to passenger traffic indefinitely. The 711 acres (288 ha) site of Mueller Airport was eventually designated to be a mixed-used development that would come to be known as the Mueller Community.

Bergstrom Air Force Base[edit]

In 1942, the city of Austin purchased land and donated the land to the United States government for a military installation, with the stipulation that the city would get the land back when the government no longer needed it. This land became Bergstrom Air Force Base. Del Valle Airfield was activated on September 19, 1942 on 3,000 acres (12 km2) leased from the City of Austin. The name of the base was changed to Bergstrom Army Airfield (AAF) in March 1943, in honor of Captain John August Earl Bergstrom, a reservist in the 19th Bombardment Group, who was killed at Clark Field, Philippines in 1941. He was the first Austinite killed in World War II. With the separation of the United States Air Force and United States Army in September 1947, the name again changed to Bergstrom Air Force Base. It would have this name until it was decommissioned in the early 1990s, with all military aviation ceasing in 1995, after more than 50 years.[2]

In the early stages of exploring options for a new airport, the city submitted a proposal to the United States Air Force for joint use of Bergstrom AFB in 1976. The Air Force rejected the proposal in 1978 as being too disruptive to its operations. In 1991, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission selected Bergstrom AFB for closure and gave the nod to the city for it to be used as a civilian airport. The city council decided to abandon the original plan to build the new airport near Manor, and resolved instead to move the airport to the Bergstrom site. The City of Austin hired John Almond—a civil engineer who had recently led the airport design team for the new airport expansion in San Jose, California—as Project Director for the new $585 million airport in Austin and to put together a team of engineers and contractors to accomplish the task.[11]

Austin–Bergstrom International Airport[edit]

The issue of a $400 million bond referendum for a new airport owned and operated by the city was put to a public vote in May 1993 with a campaign managed by local public affairs consultant Don Martin and then-Mayor Bruce Todd and was approved by 63% of the vote. Groundbreaking for the new airport began in November 1994.[12]

Austin–Bergstrom International Airport opened to the public on May 23, 1999 with a 12,250 feet (3,730 m) runway, among the nation's longest commercial runways. There are 25 gates within the 660,000 square feet (61,000 m2) Barbara Jordan passenger terminal, which is designed for eventual expansion to 52 gates (and beyond with satellite concourses). Originally conceived as an 18-gate terminal facility with a footprint of a bit more than 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2), ABIA was expanded during construction to incorporate six additional gates for a total of 25 gates with a footprint of 660,000 sqft.[13]

The opening of the airport coincided with a considerable number of nonstop flights being operated into Austin from Dallas Love Field (DAL) in addition to service from the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) as American Airlines had decided to compete with Southwest Airlines between DAL and AUS with American flying between DFW and AUS as well. [14] According to the June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG), American was operating thirteen nonstop departures every weekday from Love Field to Austin all flown with Fokker 100 twin jets while Southwest was flying fourteen weekday nonstops with Boeing 737-200 and 737-300 jetliners for a combined total of 27 flights a day from DAL to AUS. Meantime, American was also operating eleven nonstop flights on a daily basis from DFW to AUS all flown with McDonnell Douglas MD-80 jetliners while Delta Air Lines was flying four daily nonstops on the same route operated with Boeing 737-200 and McDonnell Douglas MD-90 jets for a combined total of fifteen flights. Thus, at this time, there were forty-two (42) nonstop flights every weekday being operated with mainline jet aircraft from the two primary airports located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex to Austin. In contrast, this same OAG lists a combined total of twenty-four (24) nonstop flights every weekday at this time from the two primary airports serving the Houston area, Hobby Airport (HOU) and Intercontinental Airport (IAH), to Austin with Southwest operating ten flights a day from HOU to AUS with Boeing 737-200 and 737-300 aircraft, American operating three flights a day from HOU to AUS with McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and Continental Airlines operating eleven flights a day from IAH to AUS with Boeing 737-300, 737-500, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 and MD-80 aircraft.[15]

Bergstrom had the designator BSM until Mueller's final closure in 1999, when it took Mueller's IATA code of AUS.[16]

Because the airport was built in the area in proximity to the high school and three elementary schools of the Del Valle Independent School District, voters approved a $38.1 million bond to build the schools in a new location.[17] Baty Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Popham Elementary, and Del Valle High School moved.[18]


The passenger concourse at the Barbara Jordan Terminal


Barbara Jordan Terminal was designed by the Austin firm of Page Southerland Page with associate architect Gensler under contract to the New Airport Project Team, with lead architect University of Texas at Austin Architecture professor Larry Speck.[19] The terminal is 660,000 square feet (61,000 m2) with a total of 25 gates, two of which can be used for international arrivals. A newly built customs and immigration facility on the first level, which opened on December 15, 2014, can process more than 600 passengers per hour.[20] While there are several restaurants and food concessions inside the terminal, all but two are located inside the secured gate areas of the terminal.[21] The terminal also has a live music stage on which local bands perform in keeping with the spirit of Austin's proclamation as "The Live Music Capital of the World." The terminal is connected to a 3000 space parking garage used for public parking as well as rental car pick-up and return.

A consolidated rental car facility is under construction (anticipated completion in 2015) that will move counter, pick up, and drop off facilities to a new 900 space structure adjacent to the existing parking garage, allowing currently utilized spaces to be converted to additional close-in short term parking. A second improvement project is a 50,000 square foot addition—the East Terminal Infill—to the terminal that will increase the number of security checkpoints for departing passengers on the upper level, scheduled to open in summer 2015. As the airport continues to see constant and rapid growth, a new seven gate expansion is set to break ground in 2015, on the east side of the terminal where the international gates are currently located.[22]

Both American Airlines and United Airlines operate lounges at this airport for members of their executive lounge programs. Members of Alaska Airlines's executive lounge program and British Airways Club World passengers also have access to American's facilities.

South Terminal[edit]

A new dedicated facility known as the South Terminal Austin was approved by the Austin City Council in order to accommodate the arrival of Mexican-based, low-cost airline, VivaAerobus, which launched operations on May 1, 2008. This terminal had three gates without airbridges—passengers walked to the aircraft at parking stands and boarded by stairs. The South Terminal was closed on June 1, 2009, after VivaAerobus terminated service to the US due to an epidemic of swine flu in Mexico that resulted in high cancellation and no-show rates. While VivaAerobus has since resumed US service, it has not expressed interest in returning to Austin.[23][24] The airport staff is currently in talks with the city council, Frontier, and Allegiant to re-open the south terminal and move those airlines operations to the south terminal due to the increase of daily flights at the airport.[25]


Runway 17R/35L, to the west of the terminal, is the original runway built and used by the Air Force. The 12,248-foot-long (3,733 m) runway was reconditioned when Austin–Bergstrom was built. The 23-inch-deep (580 mm) concrete runway is dedicated to former President Lyndon B. Johnson.[26]

Runway 17L/35R is a new 9,000 foot (2,700 m) runway on the east side of the terminal and parallel with runway 17R/35L. This runway is dedicated to former Congressman J. J. "Jake" Pickle.[26] This runway contains a Category IIIB instrument landing system, the first in Austin.

The runways are watched over by a 227 foot tall air traffic control tower.[27] The tower formerly used by the Air Force has been demolished.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Austin–Bergstrom International Airport's 14 commercial airlines and-or their regional partners serve 47 destinations in North America and the U.K.[28]

Airlines Destinations
Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson
Alaska Airlines Seattle/Tacoma
Alaska Airlines
operated by SkyWest Airlines
Portland (OR) (begins November 5, 2015)[29]
Allegiant Air Las Vegas, Orlando/Sanford
Seasonal: Cincinnati
American Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York–JFK
American Eagle Los Angeles
Seasonal:[30] Chicago-O'Hare
British Airways London–Heathrow
Branson Air Express
operated by Buzz Airways
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK
Seasonal: Detroit, Salt Lake City
Delta Connection Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City
Seasonal: Orlando
Frontier Airlines Atlanta, Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Las Vegas
JetBlue Airways Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Long Beach, New York–JFK, Orlando
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston (begins November 1, 2015),[31] Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Harlingen, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock, Nashville, Newark, New Orleans, Oakland,[32] Orange County (CA), Orlando, Phoenix,[33] St. Louis, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Seattle/Tacoma (begins November 1, 2015),[31] Tampa, Washington–National
Seasonal: Cancún, Portland (OR),[34] San José del Cabo,[35]
Texas Sky Airways
operated by Corporate Flight Management
Dallas/Fort Worth, Victoria (TX)[36]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco
Seasonal: Washington–Dulles
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark , Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles
US Airways
operated by American Airlines
Philadelphia, Phoenix
Seasonal: Charlotte
US Airways Express Charlotte, Phoenix
Virgin America Dallas–Love, San Francisco


Currently Southwest Airlines is the airline flying with the most passengers out of ABIA. In 2014, Southwest flew a total of 4,001,663. American Airlines combined with merger partner US Airways flew a total of 2,417,567 passengers and United flew a total of 1,779,561, with Delta, Jetblue, Frontier Airlines and Alaska Airlines also carrying a significant number of passengers in 2013. New carriers in 2014 included British Airways and Texas Sky. A new customs facility was completed in December 2014 to help accommodate the recent growth in international travelers.[37]

Busiest domestic routes from AUS (Apr 2014 – Mar 2015)[38]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 612,000 American
2 Atlanta, GA 435,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest
3 Denver, CO 338,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
4 Houston, TX (IAH) 316,000 United
5 Dallas, TX (DAL) 316,000 Southwest, Virgin America
6 Los Angeles, CA 303,000 American, Delta, Southwest, United
7 Phoenix, AZ 258,000 Southwest, US Airways
8 Chicago, IL (ORD) 228,000 American, Frontier, United
8 San Francisco,CA (SFO) 217,000 jetBlue, United, Virgin America
10 New York, NY (JFK) 193,000 American, Delta, jetBlue
Top Airlines at ABIA (2014)[39]
Rank Carriers Passengers
1 Southwest Airlines 4,001,663
2 American Airlines 1,928,520
3 United Airlines 1,779,561
4 Delta Airlines 1,332,449
5 Jetblue Airways 587,451
6 US Airways 489,047
7 Frontier Airlines 188,216
8 Alaska Airlines 116,572
9 Virgin America 111,729
10 British Airways 96,973


While ABIA opened to passenger traffic in 1999, cargo operations began two years earlier in 1997. 2014 air cargo totaled 155,440,494 lbs., down 2% compared to 2013. International air cargo totaled 20,077,590 lbs., up 57.5% and belly freight totaled 16.9 million lbs., up 99.5%. Federal Express carried 91 million lbs., down 12%; and United Parcel Service carried 30 million lbs., down 1%.[40] The Austin area is served by the cargo carriers Baron Aviation Services, FedEx Express, UPS Airlines and DHL Aviation.[41] The arrival of British Airways at ABIA in 2014 has been credited with reinvigorating international cargo traffic at ABIA, with international cargo expanding over 200% in the flight's first month of operation.[42] International cargo rates for January–June 2014 showed an 87% increase over the same period in 2013.[43]

Scheduled cargo airlines[edit]

Airlines Destinations
DHL Aviation operated by ABX Air Houston
FedEx Express El Paso, Memphis
FedEx Express operated by Baron Aviation Services Brownwood, Fort Worth, San Angelo
UPS Airlines Louisville, Monterrey

Ground transportation[edit]

Capital Metro Airport Flyer

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates "Airport Flyer" bus services to and from the University of Texas main campus, stopping in Downtown Austin each way.

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Site maintains a list of licensed and permitted transportation options: Bus, shuttle, taxi, car service, rentals, and more.


  1. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for AUS (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective July 29, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Bergstrom Air Force Base: A 52-Year History of Service". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  3. ^ "December 2014 Passenger, Cargo traffic at Austin-Bergstrom". Austin. January 29, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Primary Airports based on Preliminary CY2011 Enplanements" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. p. 2. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Nonstop flights out of ABIA". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  6. ^ Austin airport has 2nd record year, Austin American-Statesman, January 25, 2007.
  7. ^ "Airport site stirs controversy". The Daily Texan. January 15, 1985. 
  8. ^ "Penn Field". Austin Explorer. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Mueller Community – citiCite Pages – Robert Mueller Municipal Airport". Retrieved August 24, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Mueller Airport". Austin Explorer. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  11. ^ "History of the Airport". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  12. ^ Eskenazi, Stuart. "Voters say Bergstrom is the only way to fly". Austin American-Statesman (Austin, TX). p. A1.  Retrieved May 28, 2010
  13. ^ Associated Press (May 23, 1999). "Austin–Bergstrom International Airport to take off today". Lubbock Online. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  14. ^ June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG) DAL/DFW to AUS flight schedules
  15. ^, June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG), HOU/IAH to AUS flight schedules
  16. ^ "History of the Airport". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ Alford, Andy. "Del Valle school district seeks 20.5-cent tax hike." Austin American-Statesman. September 3, 1998. Retrieved on May 9, 2011. "In 1997, voters approved $38.1 million to rebuild Del Valle's high school and three of five elementary schools to make way for the new Austin airport."
  18. ^ "A History of Del Valle" (Archive). Del Valle Independent School District. Retrieved on May 10, 2011.
  19. ^ Larry Speck UTopia Profile The University of Texas. Accessed June 23, 2006.
  20. ^’s-airport
  21. ^ Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Shopping & Dining City of Austin,, retrieved March 1, 2014
  22. ^ "Improvements are Underway", Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  23. ^ VivaAerobus to cease operations out of Austin–Bergstrom Accessed May 16, 2009.
  24. ^ South Terminal Austin Accessed July 20, 2009.
  25. ^
  26. ^ a b "Fast Facts". Retrieved August 21, 2007. 
  27. ^ "Milestones: Austin–Bergstrom International Airport". Austin City Connection. Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  28. ^ "Nonstop flights out of ABIA". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ a b "Southwest Announces New International and Domestic Flights". Airways News. May 14, 2015. Retrieved May 14, 2015. 
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^;_ylt=A2KJ3Cb2jKpQXG8ALaHQtDMD
  36. ^
  37. ^ "ABIA opens new customs facility". 
  38. ^ RITA | BTS | Transtats
  39. ^
  40. ^ "December 2014 passenger, cargo traffic at Austin-Bergstrom". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Air Cargo Information". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  42. ^ Copelin, Laylan (May 19, 2014). "London flights boost Austin's cargo market". Austin-American Statesman. 
  43. ^ "June becomes busiest month ever at ABIA". Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]