Austin-Bergstrom airport

The first transatlantic flight to arrive in Austin touched down at Austin-Bergstrom Airport on Monday afternoon at approximately 4:50 p.m. The service is the first of many to come for the new route offered by British Airways.

Austin and London residents will now have the luxury of flying directly between Heathrow Airport, British Airways’ main hub, and Austin-Bergstrom. The new service is also the only Austin flight provided on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

John McDonald, vice president of British Airways, said Austin is a prime destination because of the city’s growth and student population.    

“There’s a significant business travel corridor between Austin and London, but, obviously, Austin is a huge student city; we’re very aware of that,” McDonald said. “We’re keen to encourage as many students as we can to visit the UK [and] Europe and really get that cross cultural experience.”

McDonald said he is eager to work with the University with hopes of backing the business populace around campus.

“We’ll certainly be talking to the University seeing what we can do in terms of ‘how do we effectively get prices in the market [and] stay competitive’ … we’re really keen to work with [students] not just in terms of getting them on board … but how we actually work with students, support entrepreneurialism [and] support that element of the student community,” McDonald said.

Riane Corter, International Office program coordinator, said the new route will make travel arrangements easier for UT students in international and study abroad programs and incoming exchange students traveling to America.

“I think it’s going to be helpful for exchange partners to send their students directly to Austin,” Corter said. “Before, my students coming from London would have to fly into Houston or Dallas and then get another shuttle or another flight to connect to Austin. So, now, this direct route is going to be really helpful for them.”

Only on the market for two years, there are currently 122 Boeing 787s in service with over 60 airlines operating the airliner. Skip Thompson, Boeing’s director of Airline Marketing Services, said the 787 Dreamliner is leading the way in aircraft technology.

“[The 787 is] the most advanced commercial jetliner in service,” Thompson said. “It’s an all composite fuselage. It’s an entirely new way of manufacturing a new airliner,” 

Obama leaves Austin, minor delays at Austin-Bergstrom airport

Rainy weather did not take away from President Obama's visit to Austin, but the presidential limo will probably need a car wash.

The vehicles comprising the presidential motorcade were streaked with gravel and dirt as they entered the southern terminal of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport for the president's departure at approximately 6 p.m., rounding out the president's first stop in his series of Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tours.

According to Jason Zielinski, public information specialist for the Austin-Bergstrom airport, security measures for the president's arrival and departure were conducted according to standard Federal Aviation Administration protocol.

Prior to the president's arrival and departure, all activity on runways is temporarily halted in what is called a "ground freeze," Zeilinski said.

“Everything stops until he's in the air,” Zielinski said. “There's not movement at all. That means no flights are coming in or departing. It's standard FAA protocol for the president wherever he goes.”

Zielinksi said flight delays are minimal during a ground freeze.

“Airlines are aware of the ground freeze ahead of time, so they plan accordingly,” Zielinski said. “As far as passengers who may have been inconvenienced in any way, it was a very minor delay – no cancellations or anything like that.”