Flying in and out of Austin, Texas has changed a lot over the years.
The ATX is no longer a sleepy college town and the surrounding areas are growing with it.
Now more than 13 million people go through Austin-Bergstrom International every year. “This expansion allows us to get up to 15 million passengers per year through the airport,” said ABIA project manager Ellen Brunjes-Brandt.
The City of Austin gave us a tour through the new terminal expansion project Tuesday morning. It’s still very much a construction site but the goal if for it to be spacious, full of natural light, local restaurants, and very importantly: plenty of places to sit and charge your phone.
“This terminal expansion has 12 gates. 9 new gates for the airport and then of those 9 new gates, 6 of them are international-capable gates,” Brunjes-Brandt said
“The whole extension, wanted to feel like a big dance hall,” said Tom Marsden, Project Designer for Gensler, the architecture firm that designed the project. He says the goal is to bring your stress level down.
“People really, when they go to airports, they tend to get overwhelmed. Sometimes the spaces are claustrophobic and we really wanted to try to make more of a Grand Central type of feel to this space,” Marsden said.
Marsden says instead of international passengers having to walk through a dark corridor to get to customs, they've built something else instead.
“We actually elevated it and brought you up so that you could actually experience the terminal, experience Austin, you can look out and see where you landed, what the weather's like,” Marsden said.
A feature called “the tower” will have a restaurant on the bottom and Delta’s Sky Club lounge above.
Behind that -- the East Terrace.
“We wanted this to feel like a street so that people would come in and these retail boxes act like retail stores on a street,” Marsden said.
The thing is, Austin is growing so fast it's already time to start talking about what comes after this expansion.
Tuesday night, airport officials are holding a public meeting about the future of the city and what their master plan is for the airport over the next 25 years.