FIRST LOOK AT NEW TER­MI­NAL IN AUSTIN AIR­PORT

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Tay­lor Gold­en­stein tgold­en­stein@states­man.com

In just over a month, pas­sen­gers fly­ing Allegiant or Texas Sky air­lines will fly out of Austin-Bergstrom In­ter­na­tional Air­port’s newly re­ha­bil­i­tated South Ter­mi­nal, rather than the main Bar­bara Jor­dan Ter­mi­nal.

The smaller ter­mi­nal, lo­cated south of the air­port tower and ac­ces­si­ble only from Burleson Road, will open April 13. It will be home to just those two car­ri­ers for now, but air­port of­fi­cials say they ex­pect more small, low­cost air­lines will even­tu­ally fol­low.

Un­der a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship approved by the Austin City Coun­cil in 2015, LoneS­tar Air­port Hold­ings, will op­er­ate the fa­cil­ity un­der a 30-year oper­at­ing lease with the city of Austin. LoneS­tar com­pleted and paid for $12 mil­lion in ren­o­va­tions to the 30,000-square-foot build­ing last sum­mer.

Austin-Bergstrom In­ter­na­tional Air­port is de­signed to serve about 11 mil­lion peo­ple, but last year, it sur­passed 12 mil­lion, air­port spokesman Jim Hal­brook said.

The South Ter­mi­nal “al­le­vi­ates some of the pas­sen­ger traf­fic from the main ter­mi­nal,” Hal­brook said. “It also keeps the Austin air­port at­trac­tive for more air ser­vice by giv­ing us more ca­pac­ity.”

The air­port is also un­der­go­ing a $350 mil­lion, nine-gate ex­pan­sion project on the east end of the Bar­bara Jor­dan Ter­mi­nal that is ex­pected to be com­plete in 2019.

Allegiant Air­lines, which will move all its op­er­a­tions from the main ter­mi­nal to the South Ter­mi­nal, will likely be the largest car­rier. The air­line of­fers flights to 10 non­stop desti­na­tions, in­clud­ing Las Ve­gas, Or­lando and Cleve­land.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of our pas-

sen­gers fly just about one time a year,” said Daniel Meier, Allegiant’s man­ager of air­port af­fairs. “So I think the South Ter­mi­nal with its setup and with the size of it will be very easy for them to use and be very low-stress.”

Texas Sky will also move op­er­a­tions to the South Ter­mi­nal and con­tinue pro­vid­ing a daily flight to Vic­to­ria.

The ter­mi­nal will have three out­door, canopy-cov­ered gates, enough ca­pac­ity to serve up to 36 flights per day, and two Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion se­cu­rity screen­ing lines. It will also have grab-and-go food and drink kiosks.

In­stead of typ­i­cal pas­sen­ger board­ing bridges, the gates will use airstairs and ramps for hand­i­cap pas­sen­gers. That style of board­ing, in­trin­sic to 1950s and 1960s fly­ing, or as LoneS­tar Air­port Hold­ings CEO Jeff Pearse puts it, a “golden age of air travel,” was what in­spired the mid­cen­tury mod­ern styling of the ter­mi­nal.

A main at­trac­tion of the ter­mi­nal will be an out­door wait­ing area, in ad­di­tion to the in­door area, with a bar and live mu­sic stage. Pearse also hopes to in­tro­duce a food truck on the pa­tio, pos­si­bly ro­tat­ing ven­dors pe­ri­od­i­cally.

A park­ing lot with 1,000 spa­ces will be avail­able in front of the ter­mi­nal for $7 a day. There also will be lanes for taxi and ride-hail­ing ser­vice drop-off.

A shut­tle will run fre­quently from the South Ter­mi­nal for pas­sen­gers mak­ing con­nec­tions and go­ing to the rental car fa­cil­ity at the main ter­mi­nal. Dur­ing peak times, the shut­tle will run ev­ery 10 min­utes.

RALPH BARRERA/AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Daniel Meier, a man­ager with Allegiant Air­lines, and Sarah Beaver, a con­sul­tant for LoneS­tar Air­port Hold­ings, sur­vey the tick­et­ing coun­ters of the South Ter­mi­nal at Austin-Bergstrom In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Wed­nes­day. An en­larged 1960s pho­to­graph from Austin’s for­mer Mueller air­port graces the tick­et­ing area. The ter­mi­nal will house Allegiant Air­lines and Texas Sky.

Jeff Pearse is CEO of LoneS­tar Air­port Hold­ings.

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