The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is located in southeast Austin, eight miles from downtown and the State Capitol. The airport was originally the site of Bergstrom Air Force Base. The Bergstrom Air Force Base was the first to be converted into a commercial airport since the Cold War. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport opened for passengers in May, 1999 after the city had outgrown its previous airport. Despite its conversion, the airport was the largest construction project in Austin's history and cost the city $800 million to complete. The airport is owned by the City of Austin and construction was financed by federal grants and revenue bonds. City taxes were not used to construct the airport, nor are they used to pay for operations.
The airport employs over 3,300 people who work in numerous areas such as concessions, cargo, airlines, rental cars, cargo, and Federal Inspection Services. Every year, nearly nine million people fly to or from the airport and over 250 commercial passenger flights arrive or depart on a daily basis. The airport provides non-stop trips to forty destinations. The are exactly eleven airlines that operate out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Those airlines include United, US Airways, Northwest, Southwest, Frontier, Jet Blue, Delta, Continental, American, vivaAerobus, and Air Canada. The south terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is dedicated to Mexican destinations like Monterrey, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta.
The main terminal in the airport is named after Senator Barbara Jordan. The senator was the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate and is a three-time congresswoman. The Barbara Jordan terminal is considered the crown jewel in the airport. The terminal's design incorporates two central Austin themes: education and a love of nature. Local artwork, indigenous materials, and technology are all incorporated into the terminal to create a user-friendly facility. The Market Place is also located in the Barbara Jordan terminal. The Market Place is a centrally located area of the airport that is home to shops, restaurants, and the Live Music Stage that features local Austin musicians.
Austin, Texas' centralized location in the United States places the airport in a perfect location for traveling to either side of the nation. Austin is considered the musical capitol of the nation as evidence by the live music stage at the city's airport. The live bands that play in the airport give the international airport a unique feature that distinguishes it from all other airports. The artistic vibe of the city permeates throughout the airport in music and art. In January 2009, the airport exhibited the work of landmark photographer Fritz Henle. The different art exhibitions showcased throughout the year are normally situated between Gates 7-12 and is only accessible to ticketed passengers. There are other various displays of art sprinkled throughout the airport in other areas as well. Art can be viewed in the ticketing level, concourse, and baggage claim.
There are three parking options available to travelers at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Travelers can receive VIP treatment with the valet service at a cost of $24 per day, or use one of the two airport parking garages.