See inside the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s expanded terminal, set to open in spring

A $350 million expansion project at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is scheduled to be complete in spring of 2019. This is a view of the new terminal space from the runway area.

A $350 million expansion project at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is scheduled to be complete in spring of 2019. This is a view of the new terminal space from the runway area.

Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
As Austin continues to grow–from a population of about 673,000 in 2000 to a city of nearly 1 million residents in 2017–its infrastructure has, at times, struggled to keep up. The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is no exception to that rule.

The existing airport terminal is designed to accommodate 11 million passengers. By the end of this year, according to ABIA Planning and Development Manager Lyn Estabrook, nearly 16 million passengers are projected to pass through the airport. To handle the growth, the airport is in the midst of a $350 million terminal expansion to increase its passenger capacity and add more flights.

“It’s really cramped,” Estabrook said of the existing terminal. “People spill out into the hallways, we don't have enough gates, we can't add new flights because of that. So we really needed that (expansion) in terms of capacity.”

The expansion begin in the fall of 2016 and is scheduled to finish in the spring of 2019. According to Joe Sanders, project manager at Hensel Phelps, throughout the entirety of the project about 3,100 workers have been involved between the contracting and construction company’s own staff and subcontractors. During the busiest phases of the project, there were more than 400 workers on site each day.

Funding for the project came from airport revenues and bonds. The airport is a self-sustaining enterprise that operates outside the city of Austin’s municipal budget, meaning revenues generated at the airport stay there. The bonds will be repaid, according to Estabrook, from future revenue–including rental rates the airport receives from airlines.

The expansion project will add nine gates, including six capable of handling international flights. The existing terminal has two international gates. Other improvements include 29,000 additional square feet of added retail space, 48 additional outdoor acres to accommodate more flights and an outdoor observation deck where passengers can watch airplanes land and take off.

Vinita Clegg, project architect with architecture firm Gensler, said the observation deck will make Austin’s airport stand out from its national counterparts.

“It's something airports used to have, you used to be able to get close to aircrafts, and nowadays you can't because of security and all those reasons,” Clegg said. “This is a key element and it's going to be a huge attraction for adults and kids alike.”

The expanded space will bring expanded food and retail options. A food hall with a live music performance stage will feature sushi from Komé, sandwiches from Noble Sandwich Co., a draft beer taproom from Austin Beerworks and a shop from Hardies Fresh Food Market. Other new food and drink options include 24 Diner, Jugo Juice, Parkside, Salvation Pizza, Caffe Medici and Starbucks.

In the lounge area, according to Clegg, half the seats will have access to a USB charging point. It is amenities like that, Estabrook said, that will make the project about more than just getting more people in and out of the airport.

“Airports compete against each other. We really are a business that competes against San Antonio, Houston, Dallas,” Estabrook said. “And so the customer experience is really important to us.”
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at


Maj. Vito Errico, left, and Maj. Jason Zuniga are co-directors of Army Futures Command's Software Factory, for which the first cohort of soldiers started in January. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
From a rifle to a keyboard: Army Futures Command opens Software Factory at downtown ACC campus

Twenty-five soldiers started in January as part of the Software Factory's first cohort. Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be at the Rio Grande campus for a ribbon-cutting April 15.

Mobile Loaves & Fishes leaders and Community First Village residents unveiled the planned third and fourth phases of the Austin development for the formerly homeless April 14. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's Community First Village for the formerly homeless announces 127-acre, 1,400-home expansion

Officials with the community, which is intended for residents who have experienced chronic homelessness, said that two new expansion phases are expected to begin development in 2022.

Photo of a sign that says "Travis County"
Travis County establishes new emergency rental assistance program for 2021

The program will provide $10.7 million in aid to county residents struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic.

Plank Seafood Provisions opened inside The Domain in late March. (Courtesy Richard Casteel)
Seafood spot opens in The Domain; All Star Liquor now serving Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most recent drafts of a Dripping Springs logo and new slogan were presented to Dripping Springs City Council April 13. (Courtesy city of Dripping Springs)
Dripping Springs set for a facelift this summer, with new website, city logo and slogan

The new logo and slogan were developed by a city committee with feedback from city staff and community leaders.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Head shot of Holly Morris-Kuentz
Dripping Springs ISD names Holly Morris-Kuentz lone finalist for superintendent

Morris-Kuentz currently serves as deputy superintendent for Lake Travis ISD.

Photo of hands holding a vaccine vial
After Austin Public Health appointments go unfilled, officials call for new distribution model

On April 12, APH filled 3,400 out of 14,000 available COVID-19 vaccine appointments in a registration window.

Masking continues to be required, with some relaxed circumstances for fully vaccinated residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin extends COVID-19 health rules through May 18, updates guidance for vaccinated residents

Masking continues to be required, with some relaxed circumstances for fully vaccinated residents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.