Austin/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on May 23, 2024
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Marks 25 Years with Celebration Accessible to TravelersSource: X / Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is hitting a quarter-century mark, and it's throwing a shindig to prove it. The airport opened back on May 23, 1999, and will be the center of festivities commemorating 25 years since it welcomed its first passengers. However, access to the bash, slated for Thursday and reported by CBS Austin, isn't open to all - a boarding pass and a trip through security is your ticket in.

The airport has quite a history, starting off as a wartime gift from the people of Austin to the Air Force. When the base morphed into closed shop in the '90s, the City of Austin took the land back, resulting in the construction of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport as we know it. Mayor Kirk Watson, who was at the helm when the airport first opened and is back in the saddle again, reflected on the importance of the project. "When we opened the airport we had great expectations for it and it has lived up to those expectations With 20/20 hindsight we look back and say, 'What would we have done if we hadn't built this airport and been prepared for this kind of expansion? We would have been in real trouble" without it, Watson said in a statement obtained by CBS Austin.

Originally built to accommodate 11 million annual passengers, the airport's growth has surged past its initial capacity, with last year's figures topping 22 million. Neighbors have seen constant change, from expansion efforts to the recent appearance of a new jet fuel storage facility to feed the increased air traffic, as per CBS Austin.

Looking forward, Community Impact highlights how ABIA isn't resting on its laurels. An extensive expansion and development program is underway, with Watson noting during an April groundbreaking ceremony, that it was a "big airport" at the time but now more space is needed. In the playbook is a 75,000-square-foot West Infill project to jazz up security checkpoints and the passenger processing experience. Ongoing projects include a new baggage handling system and the West Gate expansion, according to Community Impact.

So, if your plans have you passing through Gate 19 on Thursday, take a moment to toast the airport. With live music and words from Watson, Austin-Bergstrom International is ready to celebrate its past and gear up for a future of more travel, more visitors, and more milestones. To fly into the details of the airport's big day or its development projects, visit Community Impact.

Austin-Transportation & Infrastructure