AUSTIN (KXAN) — The first nonstop flight from Austin to Frankfurt, Germany took off into the sky Monday evening.
Condor Airlines chose Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for its first Texas airport. The seasonal flight will run until Sept. 1.
“We came here because it was nonstop and a 10-hour flight, as opposed to a 26-hour flight! And I think we got a better deal, price wise,” said Michele Anderson, who traveled from Dallas with her family for the trip. “That’s cool we get to be on the first flight.”
She and some other passengers didn’t realize they were going to be part of the historic flight at the airport.
“We were surprised, we thought we’d have to go to Houston or Dallas, and still do a change of planes,” said Austin passenger Justin Bertelson.
ABIA has started adding more international options since they first took flight in 1999, with new stops offered in Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. In August, Guadalajara will be added to the list.
“As Austin grows we’ll continue to try and grow air service and passenger service as well,” said Jim Halbrook, spokesperson for ABIA. “Ultimately it’s the carrier’s choice where they want to put their jets. We’re competing with airports all around the country and all around the world for a limited resource, the airline’s fleet.”
Titus Johnson, the vice president of Condor Airlines North America, believes the addition will help boost Austin’s economy. They estimate each Condor plane traveling to Austin puts half-a-million-dollars into the economy. That’s assuming travelers stay for about two weeks, spending on a car, hotel and other goods and services.
The new addition also opens up the door for Central Texas to travel conveniently to more places than just Germany.
“From Frankfurt, one can seamlessly connect with 120 destinations in Europe and around the world,” said Johnson. “We feel there’s more demand for travel to Europe — we thought the time was now.”
Airport officials say they can handle more international flights and passengers, after expanding the custom’s area a year-and-a-half ago. They went from being able to accommodate 200 passengers an hour to 400 now, and believe it could likely accommodate 600 passengers an hour if needed.
Airport passengers will see additional changes in the coming months, as the airport begins its nine terminal expansion.
With the expansion, they hope to serve an additional four to five million passengers, and alleviate some of the congestion seen during peak hours.
During construction, the airport will open four temporary gates. They’ll put signage throughout the airport to help guide people, as well as have more information on their website and social media pages.