AUSTIN (KXAN) — With the number of new flights growing and more passengers flocking to Austin, flight delays and cancellations have grown at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
In May, ABIA told travelers to arrive even earlier than usual: two-and-a-half hours before boarding domestic flights and three hours before boarding international flights.
Data shows over 20% of departing flights from the Austin airport were delayed this year, as of April. This is the highest rate of delays in the last 10 years. About 21.2% of flights were delayed in 2014, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
These delays account for over 6,000 of the 28,450 flights out of ABIA through April.
Flight cancellations have also increased compared to pre-pandemic data. From January to April, 4.05%, or 1,153 flights, were canceled from Austin.
Cancellations peaked in 2020 with about 2,500 of 15,200 flights, or almost 13% of all outbound flights. Departure cancellations were at 4.1% of all flights in 2021.
In a statement, ABIA said it has seen a strong recovery from the pandemic and returned to pre-pandemic passenger levels “at an incredibly fast rate that defied models and projections.” It said airlines are facing disruptions such as pilot shortages and limited staffing levels post-pandemic.
“While flight cancellations are decided by the airlines and not the airport, we continue to partner with our airlines in navigating these unprecedented challenges together,” it said.
Causes for delays and cancellations vary. In February, there were nearly 400 total flights canceled in one day for winter weather. Over Memorial Day weekend, at least 1,000 flights were canceled for bad weather and air traffic control issues, the AP reported. Last week, ABIA said there were delays for a required cleaning of the Air Traffic Control Tower, which affected departures and arrivals.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport said 2021 was its fourth busiest year on record after 2017, 2018 and 2019. December 2021 was the third busiest month on record.