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Reflecting on 25 years of partnership at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), which opened in May 1999, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month and looking back on its history.

The airport was the first civilian airport to be completed under the United States government’s Base Realignment and Closure Commission, transforming the former airbase into a commercial airport.

Delaware North has been there since the airport’s inception, and the airport recently interviewed Terry Mahlum, director of operations for Delaware North Travel locations in Texas, to reflect on 25 years of partnership.

“As we celebrate Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s 25th anniversary, we applaud the company that recognized Austin as a hidden gem over a quarter-century ago,” the airport blog stated. “Delaware North is one of the largest entertainment and foodservice companies in the world and played a key role in setting the tone for the Austin airport.”

An excerpt from the interview is below.

How long has Delaware North been at AUS? Can you tell me about what you do to help manage Delaware North operations at AUS?

I’ve been here since the first year of operation. Delaware North transferred me to Austin in September of 1999, just about four months after it opened up, and I have stayed ever since. It’s been fun to see the changes. I mean, it was pretty small back then, but it’s remarkable how much this airport has transformed into what it is today.

What goes behind-the-scenes of being the largest airport concessions company?

It’s finding the best of Austin from a brand standpoint. There’s a lot of moving pieces. Because of the growth of the airport, we had to move our commissary to be offsite. We have a full production kitchen at our offsite location, so everything is made over there and then shipped to the airport. We also have a full HR team, a finance team and a full commissary team over there that works to get things ready for the next day. I start my day off there early and then spend a few hours here at the airport.

In terms of community involvement, we’re involved with Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), SIMS Foundation, Clifford Antone’s Foundation and Feed Austin. We do a lot of sponsorships and donations, and we have a good team in place here.

What was the first concession or concessions to be opened in the terminal?

Salt Lick BBQ has been here since day one – such a staple. Amy’s Ice Cream, Austin City Limits and Book People are other local concepts that started here in 1999. Actually, Delaware North started with eight or nine concepts in 1999 and is now up to 25 as of 2024. Twenty-five local concepts for 25 years.

What do you think is the best part about Delaware North’s partnership with AUS?

It’s a sense of place, and that’s what we created here. With local concepts and live music, I mean, people know they’re coming to Austin. That’s the point of traveling, right? You want to see what makes Austin special.