AUSTIN (KXAN) — Newly-released data shows 2021 was the fourth busiest year on record at Austin Bergstrom International Airport, as passenger traffic continues to rebound lows seen during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 13.5 million passengers flew through the airport last year. Only 2017, 2018 and 2019 recorded higher passenger totals.
The 2021 total is an increase of about 110% over 2020’s total, when fewer than 6.5 million passengers were reported.
Meanwhile, December 2021 ranks as the third busiest month ever at the airport. According to airport data, 1,595,821 passengers were recorded during the month, a 209% increase compared to December 2020.
Unsurprisingly, most airlines saw large increases in passenger traffic in 2021 compared to 2020.
Southwest Airlines, the largest airline at AUS by passenger numbers, saw traffic grow by more than 114%, from 2.17 million passengers in 2020 to more than 4.66 million in 2021.
Aeroméxico saw the largest percentage increase in passengers, almost doubling from 10,293 in 2020 to 29,627 in 2021. Allegiant Airlines was close behind, with a 184.6% increase in passenger traffic. The airline announced in April that it was spending $75 million to establish a base of operations at AUS, housing three planes.
A handful of airlines did see decreases in passenger totals, primarily international airlines. British Airways’ passenger traffic fell by half, and Air Canada traffic fell about a quarter. Both airlines only resumed flights out of AUS in October.
Lufthansa, the German national airline, flew 15,883 passengers in 2020 before suspending the Austin-Frankfurt route due to COVID-19. There were no flights to Austin in 2021, but the airline announced last month that the route would resume in April.
Meanwhile, Hawaiian Airlines debuted its Austin-Honolulu route in April. More than 37,000 passengers flew direct to the Aloha State in 2021.
AUS by the other numbers
In 2021, there were:
- 13,399 T-shirt’s purchased from Tyler’s
- 5,617 “Keep Austin Weird” shirts purchased
- 3,569 El Arroyo souvenirs purchased
- 977 Austin FC team shirts and 627 team hats purchased
- 75,390 pounds of brisket purchased from Salt Lick BBQ
- 8,352 sauces and salsas purchased from Salt Lick BBQ
- 4,367 sauces and rubs purchased from Franklin’s BBQ
- 1,458,000 tacos purchased from Taco Deli, Jo’s Coffee, Earl Campbell’s Taco Truck and other locations – that’s about 4,000 per day!
- 61 artists supported through the permanent and changing art exhibits program
- 248 live music performances