HOUSTON, May 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the Houston Airport System (HAS), and United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) Airlines, reaffirm a commitment to overhaul Terminal B at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) with a revised $1 billion renovation project. This public-private initiative will help boost the Houston economy by creating local construction jobs during the next seven to 10 years. It will also offer a major upgrade for airport passengers as one of the original terminals at IAH is transformed into a spacious, efficient, eco-friendly facility.
“As the largest hub for the largest airline in the world, Bush Intercontinental is positioned to serve the world as United builds its global network,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “Our airport serves as one of the most important economic engines in Houston and we are committed to expanding the portal to our global business connections.”
During a news conference today, Mayor Parker, airport and airline executives reconfirmed construction plans for the billion dollar redevelopment at IAH – United’s largest Hub – which serves some 40 million passengers a year. The agreement to move forward closely mirrors the agreement approved by Houston City Council in 2008. Under the revised plan the airlines will develop the project in phases, as economic conditions improve.
“I commend Mayor Parker for her vision in continuing to develop Bush Intercontinental into a world-class, international gateway capable of meeting traffic demands well into the future,” said Jeff Smisek, United’s president and CEO. “The new Terminal B will be larger and easier to navigate than the current facilities, with more amenities for travelers.”
Phase one of the renovation is expected to cost $161 million and is projected to open in late 2013. The expansion will enhance the customer experience in the gate area. Technology advances mean that United will introduce a high-efficiency boarding process designed to handle up to 30 flights to depart through three main boarding zones. The new gate layout will provide better flexibility for future fleet changes by the airline and incorporate energy-friendly systems.
“Together, United and the Houston Airports serve millions of passengers as a partnership to help people connect,” said Mario C. Diaz, Houston Airports director of aviation. “By giving Houston this ‘opening day fresh’ terminal, we are demonstrating a wise investment for our stakeholders.”
Future phases will redevelop the north concourse of Terminal B to provide a flexible facility that can accommodate a range of aircraft types and support international operations. It will also result in improved customer service, amenities, and options for travelers.
About Houston Airport System
The Houston Airport System (HAS) served more than 49.5 million passengers in 2010, ranking as the 4th largest multi-airport system in the U.S. Houston’s three airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby (HOU) and Ellington Airport (EFD) contribute more than $24 billion to the regional economy. IAH is the 7th busiest airport in the nation and is the largest hub for the world’s largest airline. IAH and HOU offer 21 airlines providing nonstop flights to more than 180 destinations worldwide. For more information, visit fly2houston.com.