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Jim Guidry Commentaries
HAS Terminal B Renovation Begins
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Phase one of a $1 billion renovation project is underway at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). The joint-venture between the Houston Airport System and United Airlines, brings dramatic improvements to the southern end of the Terminal B facility at IAH.
The project presents a huge impact on the Houston economy, generating local construction jobs for the next seven to 10 years.
“This means jobs in the short term but it also means jobs in the long term,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “This allows us to grow our airport into the future, which is critical for the economy of this region.”
The massive renovation project will be completed in phases, with the first completion date arriving in late 2013. Work will focus in and around the gate areas for the southern end of Terminal B, bringing United Airlines additional flexibility for future fleet changes and bringing passengers a more enjoyable overall customer experience.
United Airlines will introduce a high-efficiency boarding process, which is designed to handle up to 30 flights departing through three main boarding zones.
“I truly believe that the partnership we have with United Airlines for the restoration of Terminal B is the first installment on our commitment to create the opening day fresh environment that we seek and the world class experience that we want for our passengers,” said director of the Houston Airport System, Mario C. Diaz.
The Terminal B facility has been part of the landscape at Bush Airport from the very beginning, representing one of the two original terminals first opened to the public in June 1969. Terminal A has since been remodeled, which means Terminal B is the only facility to maintain its original “quadrant pod” design, with four distinct gate areas extending from a central ticketing lobby. Once the project is completed, the southern end of Terminal B will feature three concourses, each of them extending in a parallel direction.
The groundbreaking ceremony in January comes on the heels of several major announcements from United Airlines regarding air service in Houston. The world’s largest airline has already made Houston a focal point for new non-stop flights, the future launch of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and the development of its biofuel program. Now, United’s largest hub is poised to play an even larger role in the future.
“From my vantage point, the company is very committed to Houston,” says Stephanie Buchanan, United Airlines’ vice-president for Houston operations. “We are the largest hub in the United network and the money that’s going to be spent here absolutely signifies the commitment that the airline has for the city.”
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