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Austin Profiles : The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Sep 10, 2008
In 1990, Bergstrom Air Force Base, which was the primary military facility in the Travis County area, was considered as a site for possible closure, at which time it was also considered as a possible site for a new international airport, since Robert Mueller Airport was no longer big enough to support the population and numerous flyers as Travis County expanded. A study was conducted, and in August of 1991, the Austin City Council officially announced the site as the home of the new international airport to be built.

In 1993, the residents of Austin approved a $400 million bond proposal to build the new airport, and later the same year, Bergstrom Air Force Base officially closed its doors and construction on the airport began a short time later. In late 1994, the name Austin Bergstrom International Airport was chosen, and later the same month, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site, and construction began a few months later, in early 1995. Later that year, the FAA announced the relocation of the Del Valle public schools, which was necessitated by the construction of the new airport, and construction was begun on the new airport traffic control tower and other facilities.

In early 1997, it was announced that the new passenger terminal would be named in honor of Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and plans were finalized a few months later to commence relocation of the local schools, which were in the planned flight paths of the new airport, at a cost of over $45,000.000. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in June of 1997 for the new air cargo facility, and operations began at the facility a few months later. Also in 1997, the Southwest Region of the FAA awarded the 1997 Environmental Achievement Award to the new airport for being a model environmental airport.

In February of 1999, the east runway of the airport opened, and in April, the new passenger terminal was dedicated to Barbara Jordan. A month later, in May of 1999, the airport officially began passenger service to and from the Austin area to numerous national and international destinations. By January of 2007, the new airport reported a record breaking 8.2 million passengers through the airport for the year of 2006, and the airport had gained a reputation for providing excellent service and various amenities for travelers and their family and friends, including various eateries and live music on a regular basis.

Today, twelve different airlines offer service to and from Austin, and nonstop flights are offered to fifty different destinations from the airport, some international. Parking is ample at ABIA, and many rental car companies offer a variety of services along with numerous shuttle services to and from parking areas as well as the city itself for flyers who choose not to drive to the airport, including the city bus service, Cap Metro.

While waiting at the airport, patrons can enjoy a full meal with a regional flair from Matt's Famous El Rancho, the Salt Lick BBQ, or Waterloo Ice House, or a quick snack or drink from Amy's ice Cream, Austin Java, or Mangia Pizza, among many other choices. Those interested in beer, wine, or a cocktail have a choice of Earl Campbell's Sports Bar, the Highland Lakes Bar, or Lefty's Bar and Grille, among other spots, and shoppers can peruse the wares of Book People and Waterloo Records and Video for something to read or music to listen to, among various other options.

Live music is available regularly at all three bars listed above, as well as the Austin City Limits location which is affiliated with Waterloo Records and Video at ABIA, and art exhibits are on display throughout the airport as well.

All in all, ABIA is a great asset to the Austin and Travis County area, and worth a visit even if you are not traveling, and a welcome addition to the Austin transportation scene if you are!
About the Author
Escape Realty is a group of realtors helping clients in the Austin Texas Real Estate market. Their blog covers news and statistics in the Austin real estate market. They also has a free map search of the Austin MLS.
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