FAA now reviewing ABIA’s ambitious plan to double its size by 2040


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Billions of dollars may be spent to try to double the size of Austin’s airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration is now reviewing Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s 20-year master plan.

They want to expand the capacity to try to keep up with the increasing number of passengers. 

“At the end of the day, airports are built to a certain capacity,” said Bryce Dubee, Public Information Specialist at ABIA.

Many travelers think the airport might be bursting at the seams if not already, it will very soon.

“From the seating by the gate to just the check-in, the check-in area, for a city like Austin, you’ll think that the size of the airport, from the time you check in to the gate, you’ll have some significant space,” said one traveler.

By 2040, ABIA hopes to change that.

“We would be looking at definitely a new terminal,” said Dubee.

After going through a lengthy public input and review process, ABIA officials identified additional space for baggage, ticketing, and security as their urgent needs.

The master plan calls for building a new terminal and a new concourse, which would add 32 gates. That would bring the total number to 66. 

The proposal also calls for airfield improvements that include a new runway and additional space for airplanes to park overnight. 

Dubee said, right now, having 3 budget airlines fly in and out of the South Terminal is helping provide some relief at the main terminal. 

Frontier Airlines recently moved its operations to the South Terminal.

“That’s [moving] about 5 percent of overall airport traffic,” said Dubee. “There’s over 1,000 parking spaces right next to the terminal. It’s close and convenient. You can walk right up to your plane.”

By 2040, however, ABIA is expecting the number of people coming through the airport to jump to more than 31 million.

“As Austin continues to grow as we’re projecting that it’ll do over the next 20 years, we will need to build a larger airport to accommodate those travelers,” Dubee said. 

The airfield and terminal improvements could come with a price tag of about $4 billion.

According to the master plan, potential sources of funding may include:

  • FAA AIP Grants
  • Local ABIA Funds
  • Passenger Facility Charges (PFC)
  • Rental Car Customer Facility Charges (CFC)
  • ABIA Capital Fund
  • Private/Public Partnerships
  • General Airport Revenue Bonds

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