With a focus on supporting local businesses, showcasing regional art and prioritizing sustainability, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) stands out as more than just an airport—it reflects Austin's identity and values.

AUS is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by highlighting its history and organizing events for passengers throughout the month of May.

The history

Originally established in the 1940s as the Del Valle Airfield, AUS served as a military airport during World War II. In 1943, the airport was renamed Bergstrom Air Force Base after Captain John August Earl Bergstrom, the first individual from Austin to die in the war.

The Robert Mueller Municipal Airport served as Austin’s civilian airport from 1930 to the late 90s. As the city grew, city officials wanted to expand the airport, but there was not room for growth at its current location.

The Bergstrom Air Force Base was decommissioned in 1990 and the land was returned to the city of Austin. The transition to its current site marked a pivotal moment in AUS's history, enabling it to accommodate the growing demands of air travel while preserving its commitment to excellence. The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport opened May 23, 1999 and has served as a transportation for residents and tourists ever since.

A distinctly Austin atmosphere

What sets AUS apart is its dedication to supporting local businesses, restaurants and artists.

“We have 40-plus food and retail shops in the terminal,” said Tae Gallegos, public information and marketing program manager. “We're one of the first airports to have a local theme throughout our airport.”

Individuals can dine at well-known Austin restaurants such as The Salt Lick BBQ, The Peached Tortilla, JO'S Coffee, Hippies and Hops, East Side Pies and Amy's Ice Cream.

In addition to local restaurants, the airport features eight musical stations to highlight local musicians and several art galleries. AUS offers travelers a taste of Austin's vibrant culture before they even step foot outside the airport.

“We're very community-oriented,” said Web Master Jim Ann Carter.

AUS also emphasizes sustainability through a program that offers passengers the option to pay to offset their carbon emissions.

“We have achieved level three plus accreditation by Airport Council International,” Gallegos said. “We were able to share extra credits with several other on-site stakeholders officially reducing their carbon footprints by more than 6%.”

Marking a milestone

As the city of Austin has grown and changed over the past 25 years, AUS has changed with it.

“When I first got here, it was a small airport, just like Austin was still small,” Carter said. “It really started to grow around 2012. Then we started adding gates, we had to update our baggage handling and we updated our food courts to become even more local.”

AUS staff are planning to celebrate the airport’s 25th anniversary, throughout the month of May. On May 23, AUS will receive a proclamation from the mayor declaring May 23rd as Austin-Bergstrom International Day. In addition, staff members are organizing passenger-facing events in the terminal with photo opportunities, friendship bracelet making stations, giveaways and a 25th anniversary history station.

With ongoing expansion projects aimed at meeting the evolving needs of travelers and the community, AUS remains committed to enhancing the passenger experience and highlighting all the aspects of Austin’s culture that make it unique.

Learn more

To find out more about the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, visit its website.

The above story was produced by Multi-platform Journalist Mary Katherine Shapiro with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.