ABIA undergoing major rennovation

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is undergoing a major expansion. The hammers will start swinging on July 18 on a project that will become the new South Terminal and the people behind the project say it will give travelers a taste of the "Golden Age" of travel. 

Flying in the middle of the 20th century looked much different than it does now today. Back then it was a little bit more grand and a little less monotonous. Most of us don't remember that time but those behind the South Terminal project say when it's done, we'll get an idea.

The building where the South Terminal will be dates back to the days of the Bergstrom Air Force Base on the opposite side of Barbara Jordan Terminal.

CEO of Lone Star Airport Holdings, Jeff Pearse, says most people don't even know the building even exists.

FOX 7 got a sneak peek of what's to come. Lone Star Airport Holdings is funding, directing, managing the reconstruction of the building and ultimately will operate it.

Pearse says a private company operating a terminal instead of the city may not be the norm but it is innovative.

"It's smart because it frees up their capital to invest in other worthwhile projects (at ABIA)," he says.

The South Terminal is a public private partnership. Pearse says the renovation price tag is $12 million.

"The capital funding will come from Lone Star Airport Holdings through their parent Oak Tree and no city finances will be utilized in the redevelopment and construction of this facility," Pearse says.

The South Terminal is in demo mode but when it's all done it will have the typical amenities: baggage claim, TSA, food, entertainment and it is all planned to have a design that harkens back to the "Golden Age" of flying.

"A time when people would walk through a terminal very easily. A time when people would exit the terminal, walk across the tarmac and board their aircraft via air stairs. That's going to be the kind of experience that you'll have here," Pearse says.

People won't have to worry about the sun or the rain as they walk out to their planes via the three new gates either.

Pearse says, "We're installing these really interesting looking uplit really striking canopies. That will not only provide a very distinctive architectural element but it will protect people as they travel from the terminal to the aircraft parking positions."

When renovation starts, Pearse says they'll start thinking about which airlines might want to set up shop there.

The terminal is expected to be open for business next spring.