Austin-Bergstrom International Airport left its previous passenger traffic records in the dust as more than 22 million travelers breezed through the terminals in 2023, according to data released Feb. 12. Shattering last year’s numbers by a substantial margin, Austin's key aviation hub has truly taken off in terms of growth, with evident spikes during key events and seasonal peaks.
In pure numbers, Austin-Bergstrom saw over 1.8 million passengers in December alone, marking its busiest December on record—a 5% increase from 2022, KXAN reported. Last year’s traffic peak fell on Oct. 23, the day after the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, with a bustling count of more than 43,000 passengers fluttering out of the city. The airport also noted nine out of the top 10 busiest days in the airport's history all making the list in 2023.
Attributable to the region's growth, plans for modernizing and expanding ABIA are set to match the pace. According to Community Impact, the airport is undertaking a detailed expansion program that includes a new 20-gate concourse and an enhanced security setup. Significant strides were made last year, such as settling an $88 million lawsuit to dismantle the South Terminal, laying the groundwork for a West Gate Expansion, and fitting out security checkpoints with advanced tech letting travelers keep electronics in their bags.
More developments are set to take off in 2024—improvements ingrain to the international facility and construction on two parallel taxiways, to name a few. From Feb. 5, one security checkpoint will close, not to reopen until at least 2026, as a piece of the airport's larger West Infill project aiming to expand passenger space and integrate a new baggage handling system, KXAN noted.
While Southwest Airlines continues to rule the roost with 38.6% of the airport's total passenger traffic, other airlines like American, Delta, and United also contributed to Austin's aviation boom. In the meat of the economic impact, ABIA reported 99,239 pounds of Salt Lick BBQ brisket and over a million tacos served on the premises, while visitors grabbed 8,232 ‘Keep Austin Weird’ shirts, reminding us that, even in a bustling airport, Austin’s charm continues to be a hot ticket item.