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Austin airport considering internal delivery service for terminal restaurants, shops

The service would help shops at the airport rehire workers they have had to furlough or lay off while promoting social distancing.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is considering some changes in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Airport staff is currently in the research phase of an app or website plugin that would let you order from restaurants or shops within the airport from your seat at the gate. Employees would then deliver whatever you ordered to you.

"Several of our concessionaires now currently use some of that technology, but some of them do not. Some use different things. It is an emerging technology inside of airports. And so, essentially, the purpose of this would be to expand and unify a service like that," said Mandy McClendon, the communications and marketing manager for the airport.

The goal is to reduce the line and crowds in front of some of the shops and restaurants inside the terminals and to help them rehire some of the workers they've had to furlough or lay off because of the pandemic. 

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"Not only does it save you a few steps, it also keeps you from having to get in line, getting [in] crowds, walk around and be around others, which we're trying to mitigate as much as possible in light of COVID-19," McClendon said. 

The airport has been adjusting to the pandemic for months, with fewer passengers traveling through. Recent numbers show that Austin-Bergstrom saw a 96.6% drop in traffic in April 2020 compared to the same time last year. However, numbers were ticking back up toward the end of May.

McClendon said staff still have a long way to go before they can get this type of delivery service up and running, but they're hoping to collaborate with the City of Austin's contracting office and the city council as soon as possible.

WATCH: Austin air travel numbers ticking back up

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