Saratov Central Airport had been the airport that served Saratov for many decades, having being opened under Soviet rule somewhere around 1930s-1950s. Originally, the airfield was built relatively far away from the city, however the city's limits slowly caught up to the airport. By the early 1990s, the airfield was completely surrounded by urban area with no room to expand. At the time though there still was plenty of excess capacity left over to soak up the ever-growing passenger numbers, however by about the mid-2000s it was realised that Saratov Central would in the near future grow too small to handle the forecast passenger numbers.
In 2014, "Airports of Regions" presented a project of the new Saratov Airport. At that time it was still unknown whether it would be built on the old area, or on a new one. In January 2015, construction of the airport began. The terminal complex is currently start work. The total amount spent for the construction is from 10 to 7 billion rubles. It will be the third airport in Russia to be built from scratch after the breakup of the Soviet Union, after Talakan Airport in Yakutia and Platov International Airport in Rostov-on-Don, which also belongs to Airports of Regions.
Airports of Regions initially gave the current airport's name to the one that is under construction, but in August, the constructors decided to call it "Gagarin". This has created lots of misunderstanding, because Orenburg Airport already has a similar name.