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Rental Cars, Travelers Wrap Around Austin Airport Monday Morning

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lines at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport wrapped around outside the entrance this morning amid an influx of travelers and more than 28,000 passengers projected to pass through on Monday.

After this morning’s extended lines, airport officials confirmed Monday afternoon AUS is also navigating a fuel shortage alert. These alerts, issued to airlines, often occur when airports experience busier traffic volumes.

“No immediate impacts to passengers, but it’s possible aircraft will have to divert to fuel up at another airport, as was the case for three commercial flights during F1,” a spokesperson said in an email. “The shortage is due to the current demand for aircraft fuel outpacing the supply. On any given day, we have about a two to three day supply. Most airports average 5 – 7.

Lines of abandoned rental cars grew outside Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Monday. (KXAN Viewer Photo)Travelers and abandoned rental cars extend well past ABIA’s entrance Monday. (Courtesy: Joey Dillon)

A spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration said between events like the NASCAR Cup Series and the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin this weekend, these are likely contributors to Sunday and Monday’s influx in air traffic.

“We recommend that travelers check with airlines prior to arriving at airport to check on delays and cancelations, arrive early – can’t emphasize that enough,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Two hours and three hours prior to domestic and international flights respectively.”

The following breakdown represents daily AUS travelers from this past weekend, paired with Monday’s projected crowd size:

Thursday, March 24: 26,503Friday, March 25: 27,434Saturday, March 26: 21,144Sunday, March 27: 30,991Monday, March 28: 28,651 projected

According to KXAN’s analysis of prior AUS travel data, Sunday marked the ninth busiest day in the airport’s history.

Images from passengers outside the airport not only depicted security lines extending beyond the airport entrance, but also rental cars abandoned along the roadway and drop-off areas leading into the airport. In a statement, a spokesperson for the airport said the rental car situation began with one stalled-out car blocking the drop-off curb, and other drivers instructed to follow suit.

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“What happened was one rental car stalled out at the drop-off curb. Rental car staff instructed the customers to go ahead and leave the vehicle with the keys in it. This caused other passengers with rental cars to follow suit, and leave their rental cars alongside the curb. Once airport staff was alerted to this, we got in touch with the rental car company to request additional staff be dispatched to the CONRAC to move the vehicles from the curb. Airport staff also responded by sending airport staff out to help direct traffic. Operations are now normal.”

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport spokesperson

Regarding TSA security lines, AUS officials said the airport experienced a higher volume of passengers before 8 a.m. than typical. Monday morning, TSA agents screened 8,252 passengers before 8 a.m., while 6,600 passengers is the average screening level. As a result, airport representatives said they’re continuing to work to fill staff vacancies to help expedite future travel processes.

“While operations have returned to normal, we continue to ask passengers to arrive a minimum of two hours in advance now through early April,” AUS officials said in tweet Monday.

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