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AUSTIN-An 80-room AmeriSuites hotel has opened near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, joining a growing contingent of hostelries around the 28-month-old airport.

Spirit Development Inc., based in Austin, owns and manages the hotel under a 20-year franchise agreement with Prime Hospitality Corp. of Fairfield, NJ. AmeriSuites is one of Prime’s hotel brands. Spirit operates other hotels in Austin.

The AmeriSuites, one of three in the Austin area, is about a mile west of the airport, near the intersection of Ben White Boulevard and Riverside Drive. A La Quinta and Hampton Inn also are up and running at that location. A Hilton Hotel operates at the airport.

The AmeriSuites’ units include 74 non-smoking suites, five suites accessible to handicapped guests and 27 suites that offer additional amenities such as a plush chair, a second phone line with dataport and office supplies. The hotel also has 950 sf of flexible meeting space.

The airport traffic has fallen off its highs of 2000. While passenger traffic surpassed 700,000 in June, travel was off 1% from June 2000. For the first six months traffic is up just 1.8%, reflecting the area’s economic slowdown. Air cargo numbers took a bigger drop, down 20% in June from June 2000. For the year, cargo activity is up 8%.

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