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Report: Legal battle over Austin airport's South Terminal won't go to trial until May 2024

The company that operates the South Terminal sued the City of Austin last year over the City's attempts to shut down the terminal using eminent domain.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: The above video was published in Feburary.

A federal lawsuit over the South Terminal of Austin's airport is scheduled to be heard in court next year, according to court documents.

LoneStar Airport Holdings LLC, which operates the South Terminal, sued the City of Austin last year, arguing the City's use of eminent domain to try to shut down the terminal is in conflict with the 40-year lease the City granted LoneStar in 2016. LoneStar called the City's actions an "unlawful attempt to avoid the obligations of the contract it only recently entered," according to the ABJ's report.

For its part, the City has argued that shutting down the South Terminal is a cost-effective way to make room for expansion of the airport's Barbara Jordan Terminal, which it says is already overcapacity.

On March 6, a judge with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas approved LoneStar's request for a jury trial. U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman set the court date for May 13, 2024.

ABJ reports that the granting of a jury trial in federal court could be seen as another victory for LoneStar so far this year. In February, a special panel of Texas County Probate Court commissioners ordered the City to pay LoneStar $90 million in damages.

Back in August 2022, the City offered to pay $1.95 million to LoneStar after approving a plan to file eminent domain in June June. 

According to the ABJ, both the City and LoneStar have filed objections to the probate court ruling, "which could lead to a separate trial at the county level."

To learn more, read the ABJ's full report.

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