MIAMI — Last Monday April 15th, Houston’s Mayor, local elected officials, local business leaders, Houston Airport System employees, United employees, and members of the media were invited to a sneak peek of Houston Bush Intercontinental’s new terminal B south concourse. Monday’s peek was just a glimpse of what the $1 billion renovation to the original terminal B will look like.
Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport opened in June of 1969 with two terminals, A and B. Both terminal A and B were designed with four “flight stations” (the circular modules), and, in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, terminal A’s north and south concourses were remodeled into linear concourses. However, terminal B remained untouched, and, at the event, both Houston’s Mayor, Annise Parker, and United’s Vice Chairman and Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Compton, acknowledged that terminal B needed to be renovated as terminal B plays a vital in United’s daily operations at IAH.
In April of 2008, Houston’s City Council approved the plans to remodel terminal B, and, last year, construction began on the first phase. The project is divided into three phases, and the completion of phase one will open a new south concourse with approximately 30 gates. Once phases two and three are completed, they will open a new central lobby, new baggage claim area, a new north concourse that will be capable to handle international flights, a new Federal Inspection Services area, and more amenities. However, the construction of phase two and three have not begun, and they are a few years away from completion.
The new south concourse is 225,000-square-feet, and it is four times the size of the original terminal B south concourse. Fifteen gates are scheduled to be operational on May 1, and fifteen more gates should be operational by the end of the year. All of United Express’ domestic operations and international departures are the only flights that operate out of terminal B.
If you are in the mood for shopping, the new terminal B south concourse has you covered. You will be able to shop at places like The Body Shop, Brookstone’s, and Relay plus you will be able to shop at the first airport retail store that is authorized to sell apple products, The iStore Botique.
If you are not in the mood for shopping nor eating, the new concourse boasts 488 seats with power outlets and large windows to take in the AvGeek view.
The new south concourse does not have jetways, but there will be covered walkways from the terminal to the aircraft. Not using jetways allows for more space and quicker aircraft turn times.