AUSTIN (KXAN) – The primary jet fuel supplier to the Austin Bergstrom Airport (AUS) – Flint Hills Resources – announced Tuesday its plans to build a pipeline to make delivering fuel to the airport easier and more reliable. 

Currently, AUS is the largest airport in the country to rely on daily truck deliveries for its jet fuel. In order to adequately supply AUS with its daily jet fuel supply, Flint Hills Resources must send 8,000-gallon tanker trucks to travel 40 miles roundtrip from a terminal in Bastrop to AUS over 100 times a day, according to a news release.

The pipeline, called The Bastrop-Austin Texas Pipeline (BATX), will be 10 inches in diameter and is likely to start from the terminal in Bastrop, travel along Highway 71 and end at the airport, per a news release.

The Department of Transportation has reported that pipelines are considered to be a safe and effective way to transport fuel. 

AUS has consistently been ranked as one of the fastest-growing airports in the county. The airport broke records in 2022 when around 21 million passengers flew in and out of AUS.  The airport was built to serve roughly 15 million passengers annually and AUS stakeholders anticipate the demand to increase to 31 million travelers by 2040.

Flint Hills Resources said the truck-dependent delivery system is prone to reliability issues. Since 2019, Flint Hills Resources said several fuel shortage alerts impacted airport operations. 

“The development of the Pipeline Project is intended to directly support airlines in meeting both current and future air service demands in Austin and throughout central Texas,” Jim Smith, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Department of Aviation, wrote in a memo to the Austin City Council on Tuesday.

The fuel supplier said it hopes the privately-funded pipeline will help meet the growing demands at AUS in the years to come. 

Flint Hills Resources will be responsible for constructing and operating the pipeline, and said it will monitor it 24 hours a day and seven days a week once it is completed.