AUSTIN, Texas - Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) officials reported passenger traffic in 2022 exceeded 19 million between January-November.
AUS said December numbers are still being calculated, but the count so far is a 61% increase over the 17 million in 2021.
"We're probably going to surpass 21 million, but not sure yet until we have those numbers," said AUS spokesperson Bailey Grimmett.
The big count, according to Grimmett, is attributed to the new record to new air carriers and new destinations.
"And honestly, they're flying more than probably ever before, just because we did have those two years of not being able to really, you know, they're contacting or connecting with loved ones that they haven't seen in years," said Grimmett.
Tiffany Latham, a local property manager, is not surprised by the crowd at AUS.
"I mean, growing population, people moving here from all over to Texas. That's exactly what's happening," said Latham.
The biggest challenge recently for AUS was a staffing shortage. More people were hired and TSA also increased personnel.
"So we have seen shorten lines. We have not seen those long lines out the doors in quite some time, even F1 and ACL," said Grimmett.
The top five air carriers in 2022 all saw increases in passengers. Southwest had the most with 7.4 million, followed by American, Delta, United and Alaska Airlines.
Several steps are being taken to address all the congestion that comes with this growth.
For example, people who are arriving for flights can be dropped off on the upper deck and the lower deck. There are also several big construction projects that are underway or about to start.
Instillation of a new baggage processing system for outbound flights started back in November. It will be operational in 2024.
Checkpoint 3 is going to be remodeled, and the western concourse will get bigger with three new gates. Construction for that begins spring 2023.
"So that's going to be a great improvement and help for us," said Grimmett.
The biggest project is the construction of a midfield concourse. It will be linked to the main terminal by a tunnel. There is no firm date for the start of construction, but it may happen around 2027 or 2028.
Top AUS carriers in 2022:
- Southwest Airlines =7,449,515, up 81.6%;
- American Airlines= 5,000,828, up 78.5%;
- Delta Air Lines =2,246,531, up 36.6%;
- United Airlines = 1,999,654, up 40.1%;
- Alaska Airlines = 860,544, up 39.8%;
- Spirit Airlines= 540,421, up 6.2%;
- Allegiant Air= 386,026, up 94.3%;
- JetBlue Airways = 312,681, down 19.5%;
- British Airways =134,149, up 1,453.7%;
- Frontier Airlines = 116,792, down 40.2%;
- Air Canada = 65,034, up 996.9%;
- Hawaiian Airlines = 63,233, up 96.2%;
- Aeromexico = 54,890, up 124.2%;
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines = 47,136;
- Lufthansa = 42,293;
- Virgin Atlantic = 29,545;
- Sun Country Airlines = 20,192, up 11.2%;
- Qatar Airways = 575;
- VivaAerobus = 491;
- Omni Air International = 471;
- Swift Air = 301, down 84.6%;
- Qantas Airways = 233;
- Global Crossing Airlines = 153, down 83.6%