For those traveling this summer to or from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, expect long lines and lots of other travelers.
Over the past five years, Austin-Bergstrom has seen a recurring spike in the number of passengers traveling to and from Austin in July. Last year, more than 1.3 million passengers passed through the airport in July, setting a traffic record for the facility.
Among those July passengers in 2017:
• 656,048 passengers departed from the airport, compared with 570,444 passengers who flew out of Austin the previous year.
• 654,126 passengers arrived at the airport, compared with 563,197 passengers in July 2016.
Summer is a popular time for people to travel, said Derick Hackett, an airport spokesperson. Aside from the families who are traveling through the airport for vacations, he said, “you see a lot of travelers because Austin is home to a lot of people around the country who are coming and going to visit their relatives.”
Some heavy airport passenger traffic in July also can be attributed to how airlines respond to the demand for summer travel, said Walter Zaykowski, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s senior director of advocacy and communications. Larger planes and more routes to Austin are frequently added to existing travel schedules by airlines, he said.
This summer, 18 domestic and international nonstop flights to 17 destinations were added for Austin passengers. Some new destinations include:
• London’s Gatwick Airport in the United Kingdom on Norwegian Airlines.
• Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic via Vacation Express starting June 4.
• Cancun International Airport in Mexico on Sun Country from June 15 through Aug. 13.
Austin also is considered a leisure destination, and Zaykowski said its designation as one of the best cities to live in America for the past two years is one of the reasons why more people are visiting — or even staying. People are moving to Austin “in enormous numbers, which is about 110 people a day,” he said.
Businesses also rely on Austin-Bergstrom’s connections to major metropolitan areas, Zaykowski said, and the airport’s record number of passengers is “reflective of Austin’s economy and the number of jobs created.”
“All of this is driving the airport traffic,” he said. “Increased population in Austin and Austin-Bergstrom is Central Texas’ airport of choice.”
So if you plan on being one of at least 1.28 million people expected to travel through the airport in June or in July, airport officials recommend arriving at the airport at least two hours before your flight, especially during the peak departure times of 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.