AUSTIN (KXAN) — We’ve known it for months, but now it’s official. Last year was the busiest on record at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, according to newly-released passenger data.
A total of 21,089,289 passengers were recorded in 2022. That beats the previous record, set in 2019, by more than 3.7 million passengers.
The 2022 total is also a 55% increase over 2021’s total, when around 13.5 million passengers were reported, as air travel continued its rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data for December 2022 shows just over 1.7 million passengers flew out of AUS that month, a 7.6% increase over December 2021. That’s actually the lowest year-over-year increase of any month in 2022.
Earlier in the year, monthly passenger totals more than doubled year-over-year in January, March and April, and more than tripled in February.
The passenger totals mean all of the top 10 busiest months on record were in 2022.
Oct. 25 ranks as the busiest day in airport history, with 43,177 passengers.
Most airlines saw increases in passenger traffic in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Southwest Airlines saw the largest increase in the number of passengers, up by more than 3.4 million, to a total of just over eight million in 2022. American Airlines increased passenger totals by more than two million, to 5.4 million.
International carriers British Airways and Air Canada saw the greatest percentage increase in passengers, up 929% and 815% respectively. These numbers are skewed because both airlines only flew for three months in 2021 when they resumed service to AUS after the pandemic.
Among airlines that flew throughout 2021, Allegiant Air saw the largest increase, up 81% in 2022.
Frontier Airlines and JetBlue Airways both saw a drop in passenger totals in 2022, down 41% and 21% respectively. Frontier flew 86,000 fewer passengers compared to 2021, while JetBlue flew 89,000 fewer passengers.
Throughout 2022, Southwest remained the largest airline at AUS by passenger volume, carrying more than eight million passengers. Almost four in 10 passengers in 2022 traveled on a Southwest flight.
American was the second largest, with just over a quarter of all passengers flying with the airline — almost 5.5 million in total.
Delta Air Lines and United Airlines each carried more than two million passengers, and Alaska Airlines was a distant fifth, carrying almost a million passengers in 2022.
Several airlines began service in 2022. Dutch airline KLM began its nonstop Austin-Amsterdam route on March 28.
German airline Lufthansa resumed its nonstop route to Frankfurt on April 8, after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. British airline Virgin Atlantic launched its nonstop route to London Heathrow on May 25.
AUS also saw passenger totals for some airlines from further afield. Numbers for Qatar Airways and Qantas are the result of flight diversions to AUS.
AUS by the other numbers
In 2022, there were:
- 23,821 T-shirt’s purchased from Tyler’s (up from 13,399 in 2021)
- 9,087 “Keep Austin Weird” shirts purchased (up from 5,617)
- 8,014 boxes of Berdoll pecans purchased
- 43,169 boxes of Lammes candies purchased
- 2,567 bottles of Me and the Bees Lemonade purchased
- 15,451 sauces purchased from Salt Lick BBQ (up from 8,352)
- 14,183 sauces and rubs purchased from Franklin’s BBQ (up from 4,367)
- 104,130 pounds (52 tons) of brisket purchased from Salt Lick BBQ (up from 75,390)
- 791,184 tacos purchased from Taco Deli, Jo’s Coffee, Earl Campbell’s Taco Truck and other locations (down from 1,458,000)
- 1,008 live music performances (up from 248)