Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Celebrates 22 Years

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has celebrated its 22nd birthday. The airport is now one of the most fiercely contested in the United States. For Austin-based travelers, this means significantly more options for nonstop travel. As the airport moves into its 23rd year and beyond, it is set up to handle the growth it expects to see.

Austin Airport
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is now 22. Photo: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport turns 22

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) opened its doors on May 23, 1999. It was built to replace the existing airport, which was constrained by the city’s urban growth and limited room for expansion. The new airport, however, was not built from scratch.

Near Austin was the Bergstrom Air Force Base, named after Capt. John August Earl Bergstrom who was killed in the Philippines while serving and had ties to Texas. Bergstrom was the first native Austinite to be killed in action during World War II.

In 1990, Congress decided to close down Bergstrom Air Force Base. As part of the decommissioning process, the land was returned to the City of Austin. Austin decided to turn it into the new airport.

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The airport today

AUS today is made up of two terminals. The main one is the Barbara Jordan Terminal, the original terminal serving the airport since 1999. The majority of airlines that serve Austin operate out of this terminal.

Barbara Jordan was an elected official who served as the first African American woman elected to the US Congress from the South. She had a role during the Watergate investigation in the 1970s. A statue at the airport also memorializes Rep. Jordan.

Austin Airport
Austin is becoming a battleground for new air services. Photo: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

The second terminal at the airport is the South Terminal. This is where Frontier and Allegiant fly from. They are the only airlines serving this terminal. The South Terminal is not connected to the Barbara Jordan Terminal.

A growing destination

Austin is a winning destination for airlines. As a major city, airlines can rely on originating passengers looking to take a leisure vacation, perhaps to Orlando or Los Angeles. Then, there are also business travelers from the universities and corporations with offices in Austin. In addition, Austin is also a destination city for travelers. The city offers plenty of eclectic local eateries, museums, and outdoor options.

Southern Terminal
The South Terminal at AUS includes outdoor features. Photo: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

There is no dearth of airlines coming to serve the city when it comes to new airline services. Viva Aerobus has plans to add two new routes to Austin. Allegiant is primed for growth, as it plans to add a base at the airport this fall.

Lastly, there is American Airlines, which is turning the airport into a focus city. Austin will see new service from American Airlines to ten destinations in total this year.

BA Austin
British Airways even flew a Boeing 747 to Austin. Photo: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Then, on the long-haul international front, KLM announced plans to come to the airport pre-crisis. Lufthansa launched nonstop service to Frankfurt in the summer of 2019. Then, to London, both Norwegian and British Airways operated flights pre-crisis.

Save for Norwegian, British Airways and Lufthansa are very likely to resume their long-haul routes when travel demand comes back. KLM will also likely launch its transatlantic service in the future.

Are you a big Austin traveler? What do you think about the airport? Let us know in the comments!