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Austin airport reports strong recovery numbers for 2021

The airport said 2021 was its fourth busiest year ever.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) reported a significant rebound in 2021 after lower passenger volume in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUS said passenger volume growth for December 2021 was up 209.3% compared to the previous December, with 1,595,821 passengers flying during the month – the busiest December on record at AUS.

Overall for 2021, 13,570,711 passengers flew through Austin, up 109.5% from 2020. AUS said 2021 was its fourth busiest year ever.

Credit: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Graph courtesy of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

And it wasn't just the number of passengers that made it a big year for AUS. The airport welcomed Hawaiian Airlines and JSX, plus 26 new nonstop international and domestic destinations. Several international carriers – Aeromexico, Air Canada and British Airways – also returned to AUS in 2021, while Allegiant Air opened a new home base in Austin. That operation created at least 89 high-wage jobs, according to AUS.

Meanwhile, many of the airport's concessions reopened in 2021, and AUS also opened a new concession, Zocalo Café, for the first time.

AUS said that it also restrategized its original expansion program to meet the needs of post-pandemic travel. In 2021, AUS revealed its Airport Expansion and Development Program (AEDP). The program includes improvements to Barbara Jordan Terminal and select 2040 Master Plan projects, including a new midfield concourse. As part of the AEDP, AUS opened a new TSA checkpoint.

The airport also opened its new Consolidated Maintenance Facility last year and announced plans for a new 90,000-square-foot cargo facility. 

In 2021, AUS became one of only four North American airports to achieve carbon neutrality and the first medium-sized airport in North America to do so.

Here are a few other fun facts from the airport's year-end recap:

  • Last year, AUS passengers purchased 13,399 t-shirts from Tyler’s, 5,617 Keep Austin Weird shirts and 3,569 El Arroyo souvenirs
  • Passengers also bought 977 Austin FC shirts and 627 hats
  • Travelers consumed 75,390 pounds – 37.7 tons – of brisket from the airport’s Salt Lick BBQ location 
  • 1,458,000 tacos were enjoyed by passengers at Taco Deli, Jo’s Coffee, Earl Campbell’s Taco Truck and more
  • The AUS Arts and Music Program supported 61 different artists through the permanent and changing art exhibits program and hosted 248 live music performances

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