With passenger volumes expected to grow for the foreseeable future, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials on Wednesday kicked off construction for a $164 million expansion of the Barbara Jordan Terminal.
The project, the most costly and largest yet of the city-run airport’s “Journey with AUS” expansion program, will add more than 80,000 square feet of space on the western side of the terminal for three new gates, dining areas, a children’s play area, additional restrooms, nursing rooms, a meditation room and a new third-level mezzanine with a public outdoor balcony overlooking the concourse.
State and local officials marked the project as the first of many to transform Austin’s airport to better accommodate coming growth in the region. U.S. Census Bureau figures released in May show the city of Austin had broken into the country’s top ten cities by population, with Austin-area suburbs — Georgetown, Kyle and Leander — ranking among the fastest growing in the country.
“It’s going to be a journey and like any journey, I want to just start off right now by telling you that there will be diversions, there will be bumps along the way,” Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said during a news event at the airport.
The project, called the West Gate Terminal Expansion, is estimated to be completed in 2026. During construction, the airport plans to keep the same flight schedules, though some arrivals and departures could be moved to different gates.
The expansion will be the biggest buildout of the Barbara Jordan Terminal since a $350 million addition opened in 2019. That expansion added nine new gates on the east end of the terminal.
Restaurant by expansion to close
I Vini Italian Market, a concession stand located near gates 20-23, will close in January and be demolished as part of the West Gate Terminal Expansion. Since opening in 2017, the concession has served wine from its curved wine bar, bruschetta boxes, salads, pizza, coffees and pastries.
While some of the airport’s concessions and retailers carry the brands of Austin-area franchises, I Vini was a creation of Deleware North, a concessions management company contracted by the airport.
Other parts of Journey with AUS
A number of smaller construction projects are already underway at the airport.
Improvements to the Transportation Safety Administration checkpoints to add scanners that use computed tomography, a type of X-ray scanning equipment typically used in medical and research fields, will conclude this year. The new security measures, once operational sometime this fall, will eliminate the need for passengers to remove electronics, aerosols, liquids and other items from their carry-on luggage to be individually inspected.
Also this year, the airport will wrap construction on a new 90,000-square-foot air cargo facility with room to expand in the future. Expected to cost about $33 million, the facility will have airside access and a space for trailer staging and employee parking.
In 2024, the airport expects to complete construction and begin operations of a new $70 million airplane fuel facility. Construction for this project, which was initially expected to conclude in time for operations to start in 2025, has moved ahead of schedule, according to Sam Haynes, an airport spokesperson.
In the coming years, airport officials will cement plans for a new 20-gate concourse that would be connected to the Barbara Jordan Terminal by an underground tunnel. The estimated project budget for design and construction is $1.1 billion to $2 billion.
Work on the new concourse and associated taxiways would require demolishing the airport’s South Terminal. Earlier this year, the city settled two lawsuits from the South Terminal’s management company, LoneStar Airport Holdings, for $88 million, allowing for the city to take over control of the terminal. Only airlines Allegiant and Frontier fly out of the South Terminal.