Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS/KAUS) is the 33rd busiest airport in the United States and handled 17.3 million passengers in 2019. AUS is located in the capital of Texas serving the central Texas area. Southwest uses Austin as a focus city with 33 destinations starting November 1, 2020. Other airlines like Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian, Frontier, Spirit Airlines, and United have a good presence at AUS. Airlines that also fly to Austin are Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Sun Country, and Taos Air. Austin’s growing number of International carriers are Aeroméxico, Air Canada Express, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Norwegian Air Shuttle, and WestJet. Austin cargo operations include DHL (operated by Atlas Air), FedEx, Prime Air, and UPS. Austin includes dozens upon dozens of non commercial and cargo operations.
The City of Austin purchased and donated land southeast of the capital to the Federal Government of the United States in 1942. They used that land for an Air Force base to be later named as Bergstrom Air Force Base. A year later, the name was changed to Bergstrom Army Airfield (AAF). The name was changed again in 1947 to its original name (Bergstrom AFB). The base was for the United States Air Force’s RF-4C fleet. Austin was in need of a bigger airport as soon as 1971 from its old airport, Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. Bergstrom AFB was in closure when the City of Austin swooped in and started to reform it for commercial use. The groundbreaking for the construction of a new airport started November in 1994. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officially opened for passengers on May 23, 1999. Over time, lots of airlines and cargo operations started to KAUS.
Further Development AUS is starting to go through a massive expansion called the 2040 plan. The 2040 plan will add a whole new satellite terminal with 32 gates connected to the Barbara Jordan Terminal, a new midfield taxiway, extended apron and more. It will also add land side improvements with 11,000 new parking spaces and upgrades and expansions of support facilities. This is all planned to be added by 2029. From 2029 onward they will add a new west cargo complex, upgraded apron, and a whole new runway 17C/35C. Landside, they plan to add a new ground transportation center, a relocation of SH 71 providing a new entrance to the airport, and an enhanced parking shuttle network. They predict 60-70 million passengers by this time.
Written by Nick Kort, Seth Johnson and Luke Ayers (Spot 7). Last Update: April 2021
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| (11 votes, average: 4.55 out of 5)
|18L/36R||12,250 ft / 3,734 m Concrete|
|18R/36L||9,000 ft / 2743 m Concrete|
|Barbara Jordan Terminal (North Central)||Aeroméxico, Air Canada, Alaska, American, British Airways, Delta, JetBlue, KLM, Lufthansa, Norwegian, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country, United, WestJet, and extra ramp is used for groundings|
|South Terminal (southwest central)||Frontier, Allegiant Air, and overflow/groundings|
|Ladder||Not needed and not recommended to use.|
|Car/Public Transport||Car is definitely recommended. There is no public transport around the field|
|Restrooms||Restrooms located in the terminal buildings. One is also available in the East Midlands Gateway Bus Station near to Spot 1.|
|Drinks/Food||Around the north and northwest side of the airport, there are a bunch of restaurants and shops.|
|Hotels||Not too far from the terminal, there is a Hyatt and a Hilton that is just outside walking distance. Other hotels can be found northwest of the airport grounds.|
|Season||The winter months are slightly better than the summer days due to the reduced amount of heat haze. Year round, there is always some days that are really windy and some that are really calm, this affects some planes rotation spot to help with different kinds of shots.|
|Security||Security has picked up since an incident that occurred in early 2020. Other than that, don’t be messing around, just do your thing and take pictures. A security official may come up to you and ask what your doing. Just respond politely and leave if you are asked to do so.|
|18L/36R||Used in both directions from arrivals and departures. Used by all airlines, United prefers this runway, and cargo usually only uses this runway.|
|18R/36L||Used in both directions from arrivals and departures. Used by all airlines and general aviation aircraft. When military aircraft visit Austin, they usually use this runway as well.|
|Spot #1 – Family Viewing Area – 18L|
|WHERE||This is the official spotting location for AUS airport, located at the end of golf course road on the northeast side of the airfield. This location is spotter intended and there are stone platforms installed to have views over the fence|
|WHAT||Good for all activity on 18L, because the location of this spot is right next to the beginning of 18L for planes to line up and right when they touch down for landing. This area is also right next to a hanger where helicopters are stored. The helicopters depart almost every day.|
|TIME||Good from morning till the afternoon. It can get back lit after noon but some of the shots can still come out clean|
|MISC.||There are picnic tables, trees for shade, and stone levels for photographers getting shots over the fence. There is a sign at the location that gives the frequencies for departure/landing and also ground.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||737: 60mm, A330: 45mm|
|Spot #2 – 5th Floor Blue Garage – 18R & 36L|
|WHERE||The Blue Garage is located off of Presidential Blvd. Look for signs that say “Blue Garage”, then keep left at the ticket area and drive up to the 5th floor to the western corner.|
|WHAT||Good for all activity on 18R and departures from 36L. You can see all takeoffs and landings on 18R from this garage. Also great for United pushbacks. (Gates 25, 27, 29, 31, 33) This is a good spot to get an overview of the entire west side of the airfield.|
|TIME||Midday (11:00am to 2:00pm)|
|MISC.||This spot requires payment! There is $5 an hour and a day rate of $17.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||737 close: 50mm, 737 far: <150mm, 767 close: 40mm, 767 far: <125mm)|
|Spot #3 – Top Deck Rental Car Garage – 18L|
|WHERE||It would be best if you parked at the Blue garage or Red garage as you can’t access this garage if you don’t have a rental car. The garages connect at floor 2 from the Blue and top of Red. Onc you have entered the Rental Car garage and head up the escalator to the top floor. Once you get to the top you see stairs towards the left. Head up the stairs and follow the hallway to the sunlight. Walk towards the terminal on the top floor and then turn left and follow the edge. Anywhere down that ledge is a good place to spot|
|WHAT||Good for spotting Spirit, Delta, and international gates at the east end of the terminal. The edge of the rental car garage has a good view of 18L departures and arrivals.|
|TIME||Best from noon to sunset in sunny conditions.|
|MISC.||It is possible to be asked to leave, but this only occurred once. Payment is also required to park.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||A320: 55mm, A330 at gate: 25mm|
|Spot #4 – East Riverside Dr Warehouse – 18R approaches|
|WHERE||It’s easiest to find the location by putting it in your GPS. It’s the first warehouse on the left if you came from 183 turning onto E Riverside Dr. Turn to the left once you have entered and park anywhere in those parking spots. There are some power lines in the way so try to go towards the road just a little to have an unobstructed viewing of landing aircraft.|
|WHAT||Best for landings on 18R. You loose view of them before they touch down. It’s closer than what the Blue garage is to the runway.|
|TIME||Best from noon to sunset.|
|MISC.||Power lines are all over the area. Pick the right spot in between them all to have a clear shot of the aircraft landing.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||737: 45mm – 90mm|
|Spot #5 – Burleson Road Pullover Spot – 36L approaches|
|WHERE||When taking 183 south, take a left at Burleson Road. Take the 4th road on the right. There should be a little dirt patch on the right where you can park your car. Walk down the non used road until you see a hill on the left and landing lights straight ahead. You can stand on the hill or be on the road to let the planes land right over your head.|
|WHAT||Best for 36L landings flying right over your head.|
|TIME||Anytime of the day works for this area because you can move to either side of the landing pattern and still get a good shot.|
|MISC.||There is no bathroom nearby. Bring an umbrella or something for shade if it is a hot day.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||A319: 45mm – 120mm|
|Spot #6 – Diseworth Rd – Ramp|
|WHERE||Anywhere in the terminal behind the security checks is a good spot to take pictures of the planes parked, taxing, departing, and landing.|
|WHAT||You can catch all kinds of actions throughout the terminal. Delta, Spirit, JetBlue, and internationals are on the east side. Southwest and American are in the middle. United and Alaska would be on the west side of the terminal. Some of the other airlines would be scattered throughout.|
|TIME||Anytime works throughout the terminal.|
|MISC.||Everything you need is inside the terminals. A valid boarding pass is required to be able to get to this spot.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||737: 50mm – 60mm|
|Spot #7 – Park&Zoom – 18L arrivals|
|WHERE||There is a nice and wide sidewalk in front of the “Park & Zoom” covered parking lot north of the terminal, next to HWY 71. You can move along the sidewalk to get closer or further away from the approach path. Obstructions are very minimal, but it depends on where you position yourself on the sidewalk.
You can park at all nearby parking lots and then walk to the sidewalk. From the terminal you can easily walk or use the shuttle bus. Having an Uber or rideshare drop you off at the curb is the fastest way to get to the spot.
|WHAT||Great for 18L arrivals.|
|TIME||Best from noon to sunset.|
|MISC.||There are two hotels at the entrance of the “Park & Zoom” and a Starbucks at the next bigger junction to HWY71.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Saab2000 = 190mm; 738=140mm; Gulfstream = 370mm|
Hi, I am new to Austin. Had a quick question. Once the heavy international jets return, what runway do they generally land/takeoff from?
The runway formerly known as 17R/35L was reopened on Thursday, 4/22 as 18R/36L.
Hawaiian Airlines began services the same day, with an A330.
Also, they are using only 18R/36L, if you want to include that.
Thanks for the info. Referring to the NOTAM also 17L/35R was renamed on 4/22.
04/072 (A0437/21) – RWY 17L/35R CHANGED TO RWY 18L/36R. 22 APR 09:00 2021 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 21
APR 11:11 2021
The runways are now 18L/36R and 18R/36L after the correction for the geomagnetic point movement
Are you sure? The NOTAM still says 17/35…
Yes they are making the change right now and one of the runways has done.
Currently, they are still calling them by their 17/35 names, until the second runway is opened again. Then they will rename them both at the same time to 18/36.
Forgot to add the Taco place off of 183 that is great for 35L departures.
Do you have some pics for us Saul?
Blue Garage is now $17/day.l and $5/hour
Noted, thank you.