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Austin’s Bergstrom Airport Sets Passenger Record Despite High-Profile Route Cuts

The airport saw a million more passengers in 2023 compared to 2022.

An overview of the new nine-gate eastern expansion of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Mateen Kontoravdis)

Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) had a banner year in 2023, breaking its own passenger record for the second consecutive year. Over 22 million passengers passed through the airport, surpassing the previous year’s mark by more than one million.

December 2023 also saw record-breaking numbers, with 1.8 million passengers utilizing the airport, a 4.9% increase compared to December 2022. Notably, July remains the busiest month, exceeding two million passengers, according to the airport.

Air Service Changes

This growth comes on the heels of recent high-profile route cuts. In January 2024, Virgin Atlantic cut its service from Austin to London Heathrow, citing ‘a persistent softening in corporate demand, specifically the tech sector.’

Fort Worth-based American also announced that it would begin cutting flights on 21 routes from Austin. These pull-downs began taking effect in January 2024. The airline placed big bets on the Austin market in 2021 when it added 10 new routes.

Despite the schedule reductions, the Central Texas airport got new nonstop destinations, including Omaha and Montrose, along with restored service to Vancouver and Calgary. Viva Aerobus is also planning to add flights to Austin from Monterrey, Mexico beginning in March 2024.

The sun rises on a busy morning at the Barbara Jordan terminal at Austin-Bergstrom. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Mateen Kontoravdis)

Continued Infrastructure Investments

The airport says it made significant infrastructure improvements through its “Journey With AUS” program. These include renovated restrooms in the concourse food court, ongoing construction of new midfield taxiways and the West Gate Expansion project for additional amenities, implementation of a more efficient baggage handling system, and installation of ‘state-of-the-art’ security screening equipment allowing passengers to keep electronics in their bags.

Last week, AUS announced that it had received $39.1 million in funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which it says will go towards short and long-term improvement projects.

“Our Airport is once again in the spotlight, which is such great news for our community,” said Austin Mayor Kirk Watson in a press release. “Not only did we experience more passengers travelling through AUS in 2023 compared to any other year prior, we are now poised to help ensure much-needed funding for critical projects that will elevate our airport into a world-class hub with top-tier infrastructure. This funding enables us to continue the transformative work of our Airport Expansion and Development Program, ensuring excellence for our travelers and community for years to come.”

Beyond passenger numbers, the airport reported that air cargo volume was down nearly nine percent compared to 2022. In addition, 50 tons of Salt Lick BBQ brisket and over one million tacos were eaten at AUS’ concessions.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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