The Annual Austin Surge

Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Pit crew in action

Similar to a Formula One (F1) race car speeding into a tight turn on the Austin Circuit of the Americas racetrack, F1 aficionados and international air travelers arrived at AUS early, in record crowds, ready to head home.

K-9 team photo
Austin-Bergstrom International airport K-9 team canine handler Mike Heinzig and his partner Vinny constantly working. (Photo by Ignacio Reyes)

On October 24, AUS airport employees were strategically positioned, helping guide passengers to airline ticket counters and TSA checkpoints. TSA staff, AUS National Deployment Officers and TSA K-9 teams anticipated the excited race car crowd and was prepared to help and screen the record crowds.

"It was amazing to see travelers from all over the world visit Austin for F1,” said TSA Officer Kate Bravo.

"Working on the busiest days in my TSA career after F1 went great!” said TSA Officer Michael Huitron. “I had the chance to talk to different people from around the world. I even got to meet one of the racers. I hope Austin, Texas brings in more events like this because it was great experience to be a part of."

Team Santander fans
Team Santander fans on their way home after the race. (Photo by Ignacio Reyes)

The well-oiled AUS airport partnership machine performed magnificently, just like the F1 race cars on the track. AUS screened 43,177 travelers, breaking the previous screening record of 36,132 back on October 25, 2021, after another F1 event.

Compliments on security screening were easy to come by. “TSA was outstanding, along with all our airport partners, ensuring our visitors departed Austin safely," said TSA Stakeholder Relations Manager Ignacio “Nacho” Reyes. “I heard many compliments on the fast, expeditious and friendly TSA screenings — a tribute to our TSA officers.”

In the middle of the fast-paced operation, AUS officers found another gun at the checkpoint, increasing the number of firearms discovered at checkpoints this year to 126.

Officer Monita photo
AUS Supervisory TSA Officer Edgar Monita explains the liquids, gels and aerosols rule to a passenger. (Photo by Ignacio Reyes)

“It was my great honor to work alongside the AUS TSA officers and leadership on the record setting day,” said Assistant Federal Security Director Shawn Brooks. “Our team provided unequaled security to the airport, airlines and the traveling public. Our uniformed officers worked as hard as I’ve seen in my TSA career to make sure that passengers and airport employees were treated with respect while going through the screening process.”

“I am proud of the workforce’s mission focus, from the newest employee to the seasoned veterans,” said Federal Security Director Gilbert Almaraz. “Not only did our officers handle the Austin City Limits Music Festival crowds on back-to-back weekends earlier this month, but now they capped it with another Super Bowl-sized F1 event this weekend.”

By Ignacio “Nacho” Reyes, Bergstrom-Austin International Airport and Wayne Carey, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs