One of the most obvious differences between an airport and any other public building is the need for a terminal. At the end of the day, airports are all about the movement of people, and transporting passengers from point A to point B. In the case of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the terminal is the second one to be constructed in the airport’s history, and if the airport is able to build a third in the future, it would be the first time since the airport was opened in 1998.
In an effort to keep up with the ever-growing flow of passengers, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is planning a $4 billion expansion that will include a brand-new terminal. But before construction begins, they’re going to tear down the existing terminal, the second of which opened in 2008.
Austin Airport is considering removing its four-year-old second terminal.
Gary Leff 14. July 2023
Austin plans to scrap a second, nearly new terminal to make room for the growth of its main 1999 terminal. As one of the fastest growing airports in the country for several consecutive years, it strives to meet the flight needs of passengers and airlines. But in doing so, they are taking the risk that makes the airport so attractive for flights from it.
Neglected New Austin South Terminal
The Austin airport has two terminals: the Barbara Jordan terminal, which most people are familiar with, and the South terminal, which is almost 8 miles from the airport. As the day progresses, passengers arrive at the Austin airport and disembark at the Barbara Jordan terminal. However, if they take Frontier or Allegiant, they must wait for the shuttle to take them to their destination.
The low cost airline terminal is less than three quarters of a mile away, but is not easily accessible from the main terminal. Spirit Airlines is willing to pay extra for their passengers to not experience what a double-wide food cart trailer, currently The Nada Tacos, looks like (because there are a limited number of concessions).
The 30,000-square-foot South Terminal opened in 2017 at a cost of $12 million. In April, Allegiant announced plans to open a $75 million base here in the fall. The terminal is operated by a separate private company. And Austin is now planning to eliminate them.
Last year in South Terminal, social distancing was practiced in this way.
What the hell was going on in the men’s room of the south terminal before that inscription appeared? by r/Austin
Apparently the airport thinks male passengers in the south terminal are the ones who should be told not to eat the large white coin.
Main terminal to be developed
Austin has announced plans to use the space currently occupied by the south terminal to relocate the main terminal taxiways for the purpose of building an intermediate terminal concourse and additional gates.
Our first #AEDP projects will transform the Barbara Jordan Terminal:
✈️ New passenger screening facilities
New baggage handling system
Expansion of ticket counters
Anticipating a new concourse with more than 10 gates at Midfield. (2/3) pic.twitter.com/SECXEUmZfy
– Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@AUStinAirport) July 13, 2023
Right before the pandemic, the actual terminal in Austin was increased by 37%, but even that wasn’t enough. It is one of the fastest growing airports in the country. Southwest is the largest airline, this city is Delta’s main city, and American has gone from eight to 34 destinations in Austin in two years. The airport has even become a transfer point for American Airlines.
The south terminal will be closed over the next two years to build a mid-level terminal with at least 10 additional gates, which will be connected to the Barbara Jordan Terminal via an underground tunnel. This will require relocation of the terminal’s taxiways and use of the space currently occupied by the low-cost terminal. There will also be a $77 million baggage system and new counters.
Frontier and Allegiant will be transferred to the main terminal, which will be filled with passengers (presumably at reduced fares) until the work is completed.
Take your chance on something special at the airport today
When you arrive at the Austin airport, security is right at the gate. And once you’re past the checkpoint, you’re out. The Barbara Jordan Terminal is a long corridor with check-in counters and security checkpoints on the ground, as well as departure gates and most flight concessions. The airport is easy to reach. It is also right next to the highway.
Rent a car? To get there, cross the parking lot. (It used to be even easier – the car rental office was right across from the terminal).
As airports grow, they tend to centralize functions such as security and move gates long distances. This is a planner’s dream, but it undermines the usefulness of an airport that is meant to get everywhere quickly.
The best airports are close by, easy to get to and, just as importantly, easy to get to by car. When the airport draws up its plan for 2040, it will look very different from what it does now.
Lake View from the Wing
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