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United Airlines and Houston Airport System Plan $2 Billion Renovation

The United hub at Terminal B will be expanded to meet growing demand

By Amy Durham

A rendering shows travelers moving through a light-filled and modern airport terminal.
Rendering of Terminal B renovation vision at George Bush Intercontinental Airport || Courtesy of United Airlines

United Airlines and the Houston Airport System (HAS) are undertaking the Terminal B Transformation Program, an initiative at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to expand the capacity for United Airlines service to and from Houston. This $2 billion project is aimed at the future needs of an estimated 36 million passengers and 400 daily flights.

The multifaceted program includes the construction of 40 state-of-the-art gates, strategically designed for both domestic and international travel. Travelers can anticipate an array of new conveniences and amenities throughout the airport, from expanded curbside and roadway capacity to an enhanced ticketing lobby equipped with intuitive wayfinding systems and ground-floor check-in.

The Terminal B transformation will introduce a streamlined security processing area on the third floor and usher in the New Terminal B North expansion, featuring two passenger concourses across approximately 765,000 square feet. This expansion will house 22 narrow-body gates and boast a sizable United Club, set to become the largest club in the United system, offering panoramic views of the airfield.

The Terminal B South Concourse portion of the project will include the conversion of 30 gates to accommodate larger regional jets and a seamless boarding experience via jet bridges. The concourse design aims to cater to diverse traveler needs, offering amenities such as a sensory room, a United-branded “park” with multimedia interactive features, and dedicated comfort zones for passengers with disabilities.

The redevelopment project also emphasizes an expanded baggage claim hall, equipped with advanced baggage tracking technology to support increased capacity, alongside 115,000 square feet of cutting-edge food and retail space, offering varied dining and shopping experiences.

Anticipated to create nearly 3,000 new jobs in Houston, the project will be funded by a $1.9 billion investment by United Airlines and $624 million from the City of Houston. Sustainability remains a cornerstone, with a focus on achieving LEED Silver certification for the new additions.

The Houston City Council also recently approved the first phase of a $470 million expansion plan for the West Concourse at William P. Hobby Airport due to begin in early 2024.