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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 Municipal 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, United States (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. It is on the site of what was Bergstrom Air Force Base. The airport and air force base were named after Captain John August Earl Bergstrom, an officer who served with the 19th Bombardment Group.[2] The airport replaced Robert Mueller Municipal Airport as Austin's main airport.

A total of 10,718,854 passengers traveled through the Austin–Bergstrom International Airport in 2014.[3] The airport is now the 34th 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, initiated in March 2014, Austin's first ever transatlantic service to Europe. The four-class, 224 seat Boeing 777-200 used to operate the route for the winter 2015-16 season is the largest passenger aircraft operating into ABIA. The route will be reassigned to the four-class, 216-seat Boeing 787-9 in February 2016.[5]

Scheduled passenger service began at the airport on Sunday, May 23, 1999.[6] Currently, there are over 150 daily departures to 47 destinations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, with a seasonal service to Germany announced for the summer of 2016.[7]


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 halfway to San Antonio on I-35 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, but faced lawsuits from the Sierra Club and others concerned about the Manor location and its potential environmental impact.[8] 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 the land and runways to be converted for use 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.[9]

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.[10]

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 large new wide body planes such as the Boeing 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.[11]

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, thus returning control of the land to the City of Austin. The USAF also agreed not to demolish the existing facilities, including the nearly-pristine main runway. 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.[12]

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.[13]

Bergstom AFB's main runway, 17R/35L, was kept intact along with most of its taxiways, as its high weight rating and long length would facilitate eventual service by large long-range airliners while reducing construction costs. Bergstom's original secondary runway, 17L/35R, was closed and partially demolished to allow new sections of taxiway to directly connect the main runway to the terminal complex. A replacement 9,000-foot 17L/35R was built to the east of the terminal site, along with a general aviation complex to the inside of its southern half. Most of the existing military buildings including the original control tower were demolished and cleared to make way for the new terminal and substantial parking facilities, though a hangar complex and parking tarmac to the south was retained, along with a section of tarmac to the northeast of the primary runway which became the foundation for ABIA's freight terminal. A few other existing jetways were converted to access roads for ground vehicles, while the family housing area to the northwest would be leveled but some of the roads kept for a Texas Department of Transportation service facility. A large complex of Travis County facilities, including the county correctional facility and sheriff's training academy, already existed just off of the original base; these facilities were left untouched.

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 rebuild the schools in a new location.[14] Baty Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Popham Elementary, and Del Valle High School moved.[15]

Bergstrom had the designator BSM until Mueller's final closure in 1999, when it took Mueller's IATA code of AUS.[12] Initial issues with flight scheduling and routing led to proposed plans to keep Mueller operating in parallel with Bergstrom for a few weeks, but residents near Mueller blocked such efforts by appealing to the FAA, who refused to delay the transfer of the AUS LID or to issue a new airport code for Mueller.

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 are designed for eventual expansion to 52 gates at the primary terminal plus additional satellite concourses possible. 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.[16]

The opening of the airport coincided with a considerable number of nonstop flights being operated into Austin from the Dallas Metroplex, as American Airlines had decided to compete with Southwest Airlines' scheduled service between Dallas Love Field (DAL) and Austin in addition to American and Delta's service out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).[17] At the 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. By 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. [18]

These schedules have evolved over time as Austin's population and economic importance has grown and airlines have introduced non-stop flights directly out of Austin instead of routing passengers through existing hubs in Dallas and Houston as they had done before. The airport now offers nonstop flights from a variety of carriers to and from a number of destinations including London, England (LHR), Toronto, Canada (YYZ), Phoenix (PHX), Washington DC (IAD and DCA), Chicago (MDW and ORD), Minneapolis (MSP), Atlanta (ATL), New York (JFK and EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), Miami (MIA), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA) and other major cities.

The airport's first scheduled transatlantic service, to London, was inaugurated by British Airways in March 2014, initially operated five days per week and expanded to daily in May 2014. The service was first operated by a Boeing 787-8 "Dreamliner" with three class configuration (business, premium economy, and economy). In response to demand for premium travel capacity, the route is being temporary operated by a four-class, 224-seat Boeing 777-200 from October 25, 2015 for the winter season, and will be permanently assigned to the four-class, 216-seat Boeing 787-9 aircraft in February 2016. In addition to being the first U.S. destination to which the British Airways' 787-9 will operate scheduled service, Austin was the first destination in British Airways' system to which a revenue flight was operated by the 787-9 on October 6, 2015.[19][20] Condor, a German leisure airline owned by the Thomas Cook Group, has announced that it will operate twice-weekly seasonal service to Frankfurt utilizing Boeing 767-300 aircraft starting June 27, 2016.


The passenger concourse at the Barbara Jordan Terminal


The 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.[21] 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. While there are several restaurants and food concessions inside the terminal, all but two are located inside the secured gate areas of the terminal.[22] 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. A consolidated rental car facility that houses counter, pick up, drop off, service and cleaning facilities is connected via walkway to the terminal and parking garage. 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 First and Club World passengers also have access to American's facilities.

The Barbara Jordan Terminal's first major expansion project - the East Terminal Infill - was completed in the summer of 2015. It added an enlarged customs and immigration facility on the arrivals level capable of processing more than 600 passengers per hour, two domestic baggage claim belts, and an enlarged security checkpoint on the ticketing level.[23] The addition of the new rental car facility, completed in October 2015, allowed the 900 parking spaces previously used for rental cars on the top floor of the parking garage to be converted to additional close-in short term parking.

A new seven gate expansion is set to break ground in late 2015, on the east side of the terminal where the international gates are currently located. The new gates will be spaced farther apart to accommodate larger aircraft, and will include flexible-use gates that can accommodate both international and domestic flights.[24][25]

South Terminal[edit]

A secondary terminal known as the South Terminal was commissioned as a joint venture with the Mexican-based low-cost airline VivaAerobus, which commenced service from Austin on May 1, 2008. The building, which dated from the original Air Force Base facilities, was renovated to meet the standards of a no-frills carrier. The facility has three passenger gates without airbridges—passengers walk to the aircraft at parking stands and board by stairs—and had a small customs facility. VivaAerobus initially flew to Cancún and Monterrey, with plans to eventually add six more destinations in Mexico, although only Puerto Vallarta—not one of the originally announced cities—was added before VivaAerobus terminated service to the US on June 1, 2009. Their withdrawal from the market was due to an epidemic of swine flu in Mexico that resulted in high cancellation and no-show rates among leisure travelers, the airline's target demographic. VivaAerobus has since resumed service United States service but has not expressed interest in returning to Austin.[26][27] The terminal's operator announced the closure of the facility at the same time.

In August 2015, the Austin City Council authorized a 30-year lease on the facility, which will open in winter 2015-16 after an $11 million renovation. Ultra low-cost carriers Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air will relocate their operations from the Barbara Jordan Terminal, freeing up gate space while allowing the two low-cost carriers to reduce their operating costs.[28][29]

The South Terminal is accessed from a separate entrance on the south side of the airport perimeter from Burleson Road; it cannot be accessed from either the main airport entrance from US 71 or the Barbara Jordan terminal except by completely exiting the airport grounds.


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.[30]

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.[30] 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.[31] The tower formerly used by the Air Force has been demolished.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Austin–Bergstrom International Airport's 15 commercial airlines and-or their regional partners serve 48 destinations in North America and Europe.[32]

Airlines Destinations
Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson
Alaska Airlines Seattle/Tacoma
Alaska Airlines
operated by SkyWest Airlines
Portland (OR)
Allegiant Air Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Memphis, Orlando/Sanford
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York–JFK, Phoenix
American Eagle Phoenix
Seasonal: Charlotte, Los Angeles
British Airways London–Heathrow
Buzz Airways Branson, Chicago-Midway
Condor Seasonal: Frankfurt (begins June 27, 2016)[7]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–JFK, Salt Lake City
Seasonal: Detroit
Delta Connection Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City
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, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Harlingen, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock, Nashville, Newark, New Orleans, Oakland, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Phoenix, St. Louis, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, Washington–National
Seasonal: Cancún, Memphis (begins December 5, 2015),[33] Portland (OR), San José del Cabo
Texas Sky Airlines
operated by CFM
Dallas/Fort Worth, Victoria (TX)
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles
Virgin America Dallas–Love (ends November 30, 2015), San Francisco


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%.[34] The Austin area is served by the cargo carriers Baron Aviation Services, FedEx Express, UPS Airlines and DHL Aviation.[35] 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.[36] International cargo rates for January–June 2014 showed an 87% increase over the same period in 2013.[37]

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


Currently Southwest Airlines is the airline flying with the most passengers out of AUS. In 2014, Southwest Airlines flew a total of 4,001,663. American Airlines flew a total of 2,417,567 passengers and United Airlines flew a total of 1,779,561 passengers, with Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Frontier Airlines and Alaska Airlines also carrying a significant number of passengers in 2014. New carriers in 2014 included Allegiant Air, British Airways, and Texas Sky, while 2015 saw new entrant Air Canada Express and the announcement of service by Condor that begins in 2016. A new customs facility was completed in December 2014 to help accommodate the recent growth in international travelers.[38]

Top destinations
Busiest domestic routes from AUS (Aug. 2014 – July 2015)[39]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 605,000 American
2 Atlanta, GA 453,000 Delta, Frontier, Southwest
3 Denver, CO 363,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
4 Dallas-Love Field 337,000 Southwest, Virgin America
5 Los Angeles, CA 334,000 American, Delta, Southwest, United
6 Houston, TX (IAH) 317,000 United
7 Phoenix, AZ 268,000 American, Southwest
8 Chicago, IL (ORD) 250,000 American, Frontier, United
9 San Francisco,CA (SFO) 225,000 JetBlue, United, Virgin America
10 New York, NY (JFK) 195,000 American, Delta, JetBlue
Airline market share
Largest Airlines at AUS
(Year to Date, July 2015)[40]
Rank Carriers Passengers
1 Southwest Airlines 4,001,663
2 American Airlines1 1,928,520
3 United Airlines 1,779,561
4 Delta Air Lines 1,332,449
5 JetBlue 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


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. ^ "Calendar Year 2014 Passenger Boardings at Commercial Service Airports" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. p. 1. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Austin airport has 2nd record year, Austin American-Statesman, January 25, 2007.
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ "Airport site stirs controversy". The Daily Texan. January 15, 1985. 
  9. ^ "Penn Field". Austin Explorer. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Mueller Community – citiCite Pages – Robert Mueller Municipal Airport". Retrieved August 24, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Mueller Airport". Austin Explorer. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "History of the Airport". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ Eskenazi, Stuart. "Voters say Bergstrom is the only way to fly". Austin American-Statesman (Austin, TX). p. A1.  Retrieved May 28, 2010
  14. ^ 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."
  15. ^ "A History of Del Valle" (Archive). Del Valle Independent School District. Retrieved on May 10, 2011.
  16. ^ "Austin–Bergstrom International Airport to take off today". Lubbock Online (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal). Associated Press. May 23, 1999. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG) DAL/DFW to AUS flight schedules
  18. ^, June 1, 1999 Official Airline Guide (OAG), HOU/IAH to AUS flight schedules
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Larry Speck UTopia Profile The University of Texas. Accessed June 23, 2006.
  22. ^ Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Shopping & Dining City of Austin,, retrieved March 1, 2014
  23. ^’s-airport
  24. ^ "Improvements are Underway", Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
  25. ^
  26. ^ VivaAerobus to cease operations out of Austin–Bergstrom Accessed May 16, 2009.
  27. ^ South Terminal Austin Accessed July 20, 2009.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b "Fast Facts". Retrieved August 21, 2007. 
  31. ^ "Milestones: Austin–Bergstrom International Airport". Austin City Connection. Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  32. ^ "Nonstop flights out of ABIA". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ "December 2014 passenger, cargo traffic at Austin-Bergstrom". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Air Cargo Information". Austin–Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  36. ^ Copelin, Laylan (May 19, 2014). "London flights boost Austin's cargo market". Austin-American Statesman. 
  37. ^ "June becomes busiest month ever at ABIA". Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. City of Austin. Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  38. ^ "ABIA opens new customs facility". 
  39. ^ RITA | BTS | Transtats
  40. ^

External links[edit]