Just as Austin continues to grow, so does its airport. The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport saw a record 922,000 passengers this past July, and there are plans in place to meet the growing demand.
The half-billion dollar proposal to expand Austin-Bergstrom includes new security lanes and a larger customs area, which is already under construction.
Airport General Manager Jim Smith says those are just a couple areas bursting at the seams.
"Clearly some of them have exceeded their capacity and others are about to," Smith said.
The airport surpassed 10 million passengers last year, and Smith says it's on track to see 11 million passengers this year. To help meet the influx of travelers, there are plans to add seven gates by the year 2018. Smith says the airport also needs to make room for more jets to stay overnight.
"You have to have a place for the plane to park if you want the early flights in the morning and you want to accommodate the ability of airlines to be flexible with how they treat your particular market," he said.
The pinch of ABIA overcrowding can already be seen in the parking lots. Last year, airport officials turned away more than 1,700 vehicles because there was not enough room in the garages and surface lots. Right now, he says the garage closes at least once a week.
A new 4,000 space parking garage for the airport will be ready in five years. In the meantime, several other parking lots are in the works to meet the rising demand.
One plan that was grounded by the recession is now close to being cleared for takeoff, but came as a surprise to some city council members.
Smith says they may build shops near the airport entrance to add more revenue.