Modernizing for the Future: Inside Austin Airport’s Journey With AUS Program

Austin continues to grow, and so does our region's demand for air travel to destinations across the country and around the globe. Through the Journey With AUS program, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is expanding to meet this demand, helping improve your travel experience without losing sight of what makes Austin special. 

When AUS first opened in 1999, it featured 25 gates and was designed to serve about 11 million passengers a year, and our nine-gate expansion that opened in 2019 boosted that number by 4 million more passengers. With a steady and strong growth in passenger activity since opening, AUS served (at the time) a record-breaking number of travelers just before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic halted air travel across the globe.

At the height of the pandemic, barely over 10,000 travelers flew in and out of AUS in a single month – a massive difference from the millions of travelers a month the airport would typically see. But this plummet in passenger activity didn’t last for long. As COVID-19 vaccines became widely available and as communities lifted travel restrictions, passengers came soaring back to AUS to once again take to the skies.

Two images. Left: AUS ticketing counters with very few travelers in May 2020. Right: a bustling AUS ticketing counter in May 2022.

AUS ticketing counters in June 2020 (left) and May 2022 (right).

With only two months of a steep decline in passenger activity, airport teams caught their first glimpse at projection-defying growth in late 2020 as airlines began preparing their Spring 2021 schedules. One thing was clear: AUS entered the pandemic as a medium-sized airport in 2019 and rebounded from the pandemic as large-sized airport. Enter Journey With AUS: a program of airport expansion and development projects to modernize, enhance, and plan for our growth in the years to come. Through Journey With AUS, we’re working to meet our community’s travel needs, provide you with a more seamless travel experience, and continue connecting Central Texas to more places around the world.

AUS kicked off this landmark airport expansion program in 2021, as soon as airport leadership recognized that the post-pandemic travel demand would forever change our airport. The first Journey With AUS project was completed in late 2021 with the opening of a new TSA Checkpoint, and we’ve been ramping up ever since. In fact, some of our key projects have gone from an idea to design to construction in rapid succession. The West Gate Expansion, Atrium Infill and International Arrivals projects are all expansion and improvement efforts launched in response to post-pandemic growth: In other words, we took a look across the airport and determined where can we fill in gaps and build out more square feet as soon as possible to make the AUS experience more comfortable for our travelers.

Two images. Left: AUS staff at TSA Checkpoint 2 East opening in December 2022. Right: AUS staff presenting information as part of Environmental Assessment work in 2022.

TSA Checkpoint 2 East Ribbon Cutting in December 2021 (left); AUS staff presentation as part of Environmental Assessment work in 2022 (right)

Over the past year, we’ve worked to bring 7 key projects into the construction or design phase. And in the last 8 months, the AUS team has advertised an unprecedented 12 solicitations for construction and professional services – meaning that we’re working to secure the people and resources we need to move forward on this pivotal work. 

Two images. Left: West Gate Expansion construction crane; right: AUS staff and stakeholders celebrating at the West Infill groundbreaking celebration.

West Gate Expansion construction (left) and West Infill groundbreaking celebration (right) in Spring 2024 

We expect to finish many key projects, including our West Gate Expansion, West Infill, and International Arrivals projects, within the next couple of years, and some of our longer-term Journey With AUS projects like our new Arrivals and Departure Hall and Concourse B expansion are expected to be completed by the early 2030s. 

Journey With AUS project map showing project construction phases. Go to for more information.

You might not notice all of our Journey With AUS improvements right away, but these interconnected projects are designed to enhance your travel experience in both big and small ways. Some highlights from across the program include:

  • A new outbound baggage handling system to process more checked luggage than ever before.
  • Improvements to our Barbara Jordan Terminal that will provide more room for passengers, like our West Infill and TSA Checkpoint 3, West Gate Expansion, Atrium Infill, and International Arrivals improvements. 
  • Infrastructure and airfield improvements that will improve your AUS experience behind the scenes, like new midfield taxiways that connect the east and west side of the airfield, as well as a new Central Utility Plant and utility improvements that make AUS more sustainable, efficient, connected, and comfortable. 
  • Long-term improvements like the new Concourse B and Connector Tunnel that will add at least 20 more gates, a new Arrivals and Departure Hall that expands space for ticketing, security checkpoints, and more, and a new parking garage and surface parking.

And these are just a few highlights that we’re hard at work on. Head over to our Journey With AUS website to learn more about each project and follow our journey at every step.