AUSTIN - Some travelers to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport may see some changes as airport construction gets underway to add nine extra gates.
The beginning phases of construction began earlier in 2016 in preparation for construction at the east end of the terminal.
ABIA has always been a 'Goldilocks' airport -- not too big, not too small, just the right size. But it's no secret, it's growing rapidly.
Traveler numbers are up again -- this year five percent over last year. From January to September 2016, 9,230,931 passengers came through the airport. That’s compared to 8,787,186 in the same time period last year.
The pace has already outsized the facilities.
"The airport currently -- the way it's built -- it's built to handle 11 million passengers a year,” said Derick Hackett with ABIA. “And last year we were at 11.9 (million passengers)."
During construction inside the terminal, passengers will go through temporary jet bridges. Use of the bridges began Friday, with a target completion date of 2019.
"We'll be able to take a maximum in of 15 million passengers per year," said Hackett.
In addition to the extra gates, the entire airport will see an expansion in the next few years. That includes a retail space with restaurants, a playground, gas station and electric charging stations. The completion of the “Park & Zoom” facility will add 2,000 more parking spaces next to the highway.
"We also have a Bark & Zoom for pet boarding services,” said Hackett.
The 24-hour pet service is expected to open early 2017.
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