Austin Airport—formally Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and ABIA for short—is the only commercial facility in the region. The shortened four-letter acronym should not be confused with the official IATA (International Air Transport Association) code, which is AUS. Although ABIA is an international airport, the only city serviced outside the United States is Cancun in Mexico. This is significant, as there are numerous seasonal and charter departures (especially with tourists on vacation packages to that resort) bringing many visitors into Austin.
Even though Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has only one international destination city and a relatively short history (passenger service began only in 1999), it has grown into an important regional hub. From 1942 until 1991, it was a United States Air Force base. Prior to 1999, the city was served by Robert Mueller Municipal Airport in the northeastern suburbs. The new ABIA is set on the grounds of the original US Air Base and located about five miles southeast of Downtown Austin.
Since Austin is the capital of Texas, there has always been business travel here. The opening of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has been a boon both to the business travelers and the local tourism industry, as there are flights on more than a dozen airlines between Austin and more than twenty US cities, including Seattle and Los Angeles, Chicago and Denver, Boston, New York City, and Atlanta. There are flights to several other US cities as well as the major cities of Texas. This extensive schedule of direct flights eliminates much of the previous need to connect in (or drive from) San Antonio (100 miles away), Houston (150 miles away), and Dallas (200 miles away). Oftentimes, getting to Austin involves more than having connecting flights in these cities. Many people chose to drive the distance, adding both time and expense to their vacations.
Austin Airport is a modern facility with a number of typical airport restaurant dining spots, cafés, bars, and shopping outlets. There are currency changing facilities for foreign visitors and several outlets for car rentals, including most major national chains. There are several airport hotels, including cheap hotels of the motel variety, long-term suite hotels, and four-star business hotels. The Hilton is a four-star property located right on the airport grounds. Most of these have complimentary airport shuttle service, as do the luxury hotels located in the city. Other transportation includes the metro bus service, commercial mini-van operators, and private hire cars and limousines. The public bus lines stop at a handful of central city locations including on Congress Street near the State Capitol and the famous Bat Bridge.
There is ample Austin Texas Airport parking for both short and long-term parking. Additionally, there is valet parking (you’ll pay a premium for this service) as well as free parking (under 30 minutes) for those meeting arriving passengers.
Another Austin Airport is Lakeway Airpark, located about seventeen miles northwest of Downtown Austin. It is a civil aviation facility primarily serving small private planes, including small jets. This is popular airport for those who come for fishing and other outdoor recreation at Lake Travis. The airport is located in the town of Lakeway, right on the lake.
Image: ACVB Photo