AUSTIN (KXAN) - AUSTIN (KXAN) – Thursday is the day before Formula One events kick-off, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport expects to see record numbers.
ABIA is decorated with banners and cars to welcome race fans from across the world, but it's also prepared to handle the influx of travelers.
"The airport is going to be welcoming a lot of race fans and we're going to be busiest today on Thursday," explained Jim Halbrook, a spokesman for the airport. "Monday is going to be the big departure day for us and departures will be fairly heavy on Tuesday too, then boom we're at the Wednesday before Thanksgiving which is going to be as big of a day as today is."
Formula One schedule
Practice 1, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Practice 2, 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Practice 3, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Race, starts at 1 p.m. and is expected to last about two hours
The airport has put in a fourth security checkpoint on the east side of the terminal. Halbrook also said there will be more TSA workers staffed to help run the security points at maximum capacity.
"I think it's good and exciting for Austin but I'm glad I'm getting out of here before this mess comes up," said Michelle Rodriguez, an Austinite who left for Florida on Wednesday. "I mean, I think Austin is trying to become, you know, something that attracts more people, I'm not sure about how this whole F1 thing will come about, but it started. I guess we'll give it a go then evaluate it from there."
Airport officials said they're using cues from past events such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival and South by Southwest.
"We're feeling the same energy as we do with SXSW on this," explained Halbrook. "We have done some extra things, the customer service representatives that we got out there is new to us because those SXSW travelers have been growing and growing. What we've got coming in the airport this time will be from all over the world. "
More than 75 volunteers will be spread out around the baggage claim to help international travelers find their way. The airport also expanded its customs area and will be able to process about 160 people an hour.
"The whole idea is just helping people get through the airport because we know that's going to mean a lot of our visitors if they get through Austin's gateway not only enjoy it here because it's a beautiful airport, but that it goes smoothly," explained Halbrook.
On a normal day there are about 130 plane arrivals. So far there's almost double that. ABIA officials expect about 240 aircraft reservations for this week, about 58 of them are coming from international destinations. A lot of them are smaller planes with less than 12 people on them.
Winter is invading Texas with a vengeance as snow, sleet and ice were unleashed on much of northern and western sections of the state.
A man is expected to survive after being stabbed in the head at the Salvation Army shelter in Downtown Austin at about 3:45 a.m. Friday.
Investigators are looking into an overnight fire that left one woman with third-degree burns.
Caldwell County residents gathered Thursday evening to organize their fight against a proposed landfill that they say poses a hazard that they don't need.
The pastor of the Austin church attended by the teacher who was killed Thursday in Benghazi remembered him as a spiritual friend dedicated to improving the lives of others.
In just a few months, Pflugerville will be home to a new water park. It's just the latest development as the community becomes a major suburb.