Out With the Old, In With the New: A Sneak Preview of Houston Bush Intercontinental’s New Terminal B South Concourse

By Jack Harty, Correspondent Airchive.com

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.

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The Terminal B “flight stations”

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.

Extra: View Images of the old Terminal B and new Terminal B Under Construction here.

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.

IMG_1294The 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.

Extra: View full images of behind-the-scenes on the ramps and in the terminals at IAH here.

Seventeen new restaurants and stores will be open for business on May 1. For Reef Restaurant’s 3rd Oyster Bar and The Frutería, their homes on the new terminal B south concourse will mark the first time they will operate an airport concession. Further, Texas icons Whataburger and Bullrito’s will be able to provide a last minute local taste of Texas flavor. Fresh Gourmet Marketplace, Panda Express and Starbucks will round out the food and beverage options.
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iStore is is the first authorized Apple product retail store in an airport

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.

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The view from the seating area

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.

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Just a few of the more than 450 seats that will be in the new terminal B south concourse

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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.

When your flight has begun boarding, you will go to your gate door to have your ticket scanned and proceed to the aircraft.

After having your ticket scanned, you will go down one of the escalators to the ground level to board.

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Once you have reached the ground level, you will proceed down one of the piers to reach your gate.

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Once you have reached your gate, you will walk out and board the aircraft. The new terminal uses covered walkways in lieu of the traditional full-sized jetways.

United had one of their ERJ-145′s on display to demonstrate what it will look like once they begin operations out of the new concourse.

At the end of the "sneak peek" event, Mario Diaz, the Director of the Houston Airport System, quietly reflected on the journey to build the new terminal B south concourse that started a little over a year ago as he looked at the dozen or so pictures that tracked the progress of the building of the new concourse.

At the end of the “sneak peek” event, Mario Diaz, the Director of the Houston Airport System, quietly reflected on the journey to build the new terminal B south concourse that started a little over a year ago as he looked at the dozen or so pictures that tracked the progress of the building of the new concourse.

 

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