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What we learned from the Austin airport’s first ever Environmental Social Governance report

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is working to maintain its social and environmental efforts amid record-breaking growth.

A plane flying over Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at dusk.

AUS offers direct flights to almost 100 cities worldwide.

Photo via Tim Griffith

The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport saw yet another record-breaking month for passenger traffic in August, with more than 2.04 million travelers using the airport facilities, further cementing it as one of the fastest-growing airports in the US.

To learn a little more about how AUS is balancing its social efforts amid all this growth, we took a look at the airport’s first ever Environmental Social Governance report, which was released in July. Here are a few things we learned.

Economic impact

AUS provides more than 74,000 direct and indirect jobs to Central Texas. However, in recent years, the airport has seen a drop in job retention, in part due to rising gas prices and other competitive job options at businesses like Tesla and Samsung.

Between 2018 and 2021 — the year this report centers on — employee retention dropped by nearly 6% and turnover increased to ~9% in 2020 and 2021.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

ABIA currently has an interim Chief Equity Officer with plans to hire for a permanent position in the next year.

Staff demographics have changed slightly since 2017. The number of non-white employees increased from ~61% to ~66% and the number of male employees hovered around 65%.

An airport on a runway near solar panels at the Austin airport.

ABIA is now generating 1.8 megawatts of solar energy on the airport campus to power both the airport + 160 local homes. | Photo courtesy Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Sustainability

In addition to becoming the first medium hub-sized airport in North America to achieve 3+ neutrality from the Airport Council International Airport Carbon Accreditation, AUS has several other sustainability initiatives.

According to the report, the airport has several buildings with LEED energy certification, and has improved its recycling rate to 38% compared to 11% in 2015.

Art

The airport participates in the city’s Art in Public Places program, which commissions artists to create work related to Austin’s identity.

In 2021, the airport featured 61 artists, 248 live musical performances, and added two new permanent installations, including the interactive “Interimaginary Departures.”