AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Tuesday marks 20 years since the last official flight out of Austin’s Robert Mueller airport. The city moved air operations into a decommissioned air force base in Dell Valley where it's still at today.
With how quickly Austin was growing, they needed to not only find a bigger space for an airport but also one in an area where they can expand even more. With the closure of a nearby air force base, they found this was the best option for the city and 20 years later it's still growing.
“Originally it was a thousand-foot runway dirt run way 1 little maintenance facility and then an additional operations center with a small little tower,” said Bryce Dubee, the public information specialist for the Austin Aviation Department.
Tuesday marks 20 years since Austin moved out of the Robert Mueller airport, a facility they used since 1930. “It was used during world war 2 to house some aircraft, then in the 60s there was a new facility built that most people knew up until 1999,” said Dubee.
FOX 7 was there in 1999 on the last flight from the Mueller airport which landed at the one we know today, Austin-Berstrom International Airport. If you make your way to where the airport used to be you're going to find a lot of homes and a big empty field though there is one thing left from the airport and it's the control tower still standing after all these years.
Austin needed to find another airport because of how quickly the area was growing. According to Dubee, they were seeing more and more passengers every year and need more space.
“Originally there was options about moving to a new facility out in manor,” said Dubee. With the closing of a nearby air force base, Austin seized the opportunity to make this their new airport. “Originally this was Bergstrom air force base since world war 2 up until the 90s,” said Dubee.
A few days after leaving Mueller, the city opened up shop at ABIA.
“That year they saw 6.6 million passengers come through the airport,” said Dubee.
Since then they've expanded and have plans to expand even more as the number of passengers at the airport has now more than doubled since 1999. “What we're seeing for the future is more expansion opportunities as part of our 20, 40 master plan it will accommodate around 30 million passengers coming to Austin every year,” said Dubee.
For the next 20 years, Dubee said you can expect to see an airport double the size of what you see today. On Thursday the airport plans to hold a big event to celebrate 20 years since the grand opening.