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Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is a mixed-use commercial airport located southeast of the central business district of Austinmarker, Texasmarker, United Statesmarker. It covers and has two runways and two helipads.

The airport began passenger service on May 23, 1999. A total of 9,039,075 passengers traveled through the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in 2008.

History

A separate airport, named Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, originally built on open farmland, first served the air traffic needs of Austin starting October 14, 1930.

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 Basemarker.

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. Citizens began to complain about the noise. Also, at , the runway at Mueller was too short to handle new planes such as the 747. However, larger aircraft such as American Airlines DC-10s and Continental Airlines Boeing 720s have been regularly scheduled in the past. Before major expansion at Mueller took place, the departure area consisted of 4 to 5 gates, not enclosed but covered by a large awning. No jetways existed at this time.

Historic airline routes (at Mueller) included: Delta Air Lines (Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Salt Lake City, Orlando) Braniff International (San Antonio – Austin – Washington D.C. Dulles – New York City JFK), Continental Airlines (Houston – Austin – Midland/Odessa – El Paso – Phoenix – Los Angeles), Trans World Airlines (McAllen – Austin – St. Louis and Austin – Houston Hobby), Texas International (Austin–Lubbock–Amarillo–Denver), Eastern Air Lines (Atlanta – Austin – El Paso), Pan American World Airways (Austin – Dallas – New York City JFK), Muse Air (Houston Hobby – Austin – Midland/Odessa – Las Vegas – Los Angeles) and United Airlines (Austin – Corpus Christi and Austin – San Antonio).

The city began considering options for a new airport as early as 1971, when the Federal Aviation Administration proposed that Austin and San Antoniomarker build a joint regional airport. That idea was rejected, as few Austinites supported driving half way to San Antonio to catch a flight.

In 1976, the city submitted a proposal to the United States Air Force for joint use of Bergstrom AFB. The Air Force rejected the proposal in 1978 as being too disruptive to its operations.

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. On November 1, 1987, a voter referendum finally approved a site near Manormarker. The city began acquiring the land and fighting lawsuits from the Sierra Club and others concerned about the Manor location.

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 voters approved the move in 1993. Groundbreaking for the airport was November 19, 1994 and air cargo operations began on June 30, 1997. Bergstrom had the designator BSM until Mueller's final closure, when it took Mueller's IATA code of AUS. On November 5, 2007 the Mexican-based carrier VivaAerobus announced plans to operate their Boeing 737 aircraft to Austin with 6 new non-stop flights to the Mexican cities Cancúnmarker, Guadalajaramarker, Leónmarker/Bajío, Monterreymarker, Pueblamarker, and Querétaromarker. Viva Aerobus has already received approval from the US Department of Transportation to operate to those cities. In 2009 due to the Swine Flu epidemic Viva Aerobus ceased flights from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Facilities

Terminal

Barbara Jordan Terminal was designed by University of Texas at Austinmarker Architecture professor Larry Speck. The terminal is with a total of 25 gates. Inside the terminal, many local restaurants have leased concession space so that visitors can get a "taste of Austin" as they come through. 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."

A new dedicated facility known as the South Terminal Austinmarker 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. That terminal was closed on June 1, 2009, after VivaAerobus terminated service to Austin.

Both American Airlines and Continental Airlines operate lounges at this airport for members of their executive lounge programs.

The ABIA air traffic control tower in 2009.

Runways

Runway 17R/35L, to the west of the terminal, is the original runway built and used by the Air Force. The long runway was reconditioned when Austin-Bergstrom was built. The runway is dedicated to former President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Runway 17L/35R is a new 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.

The runways are watched over by a new 20-story air traffic control tower. The tower used by the Air Force was demolished during construction.

Airlines and destinations

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is served by 11 commercial airlines and their regional partners.

Transportation

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

References



Notes

  1. Eight million passenger milestone passed, record year at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, January 24, 2007.
  2. ABIA travelers way up, cargo way down, Austin Business Journal, January 24, 2007.
  3. Austin airport has 2nd record year, Austin American-Statesman, January 25, 2007.
  4. Larry Speck UTopia Profile The University of Texas. Accessed 2006-06-23.
  5. VivaAerobus to cease operations out of Austin-Bergstrom Accessed May 16, 2009.
  6. South Terminal Austin Accessed July 20, 2009.


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