HOUSTON, April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today previewed its new Terminal B south concourse at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Houston Mayor Annise Parker and other area civic and business leaders. The new facility will open to limited flight operations over the next two weeks, with the first 15 gates planned to be fully operational by May 1, 2013. The airline will add 15 more gates by the end of the year.
The $97-million south concourse is a new 225,000-square-foot facility dedicated to United Express regional flights. At nearly four times the size of the previous south concourse, the new space will provide a better customer experience, featuring modern and expanded gate-lounge areas, 17 food and beverage and retail concessions and a spacious central passenger lounge with expansive tarmac views.
"Bush Intercontinental's extensive connecting traffic makes it a premier international gateway and a key hub in United's network," said Jim Compton, United's vice chairman and chief revenue officer. "We've designed our newest terminal to offer travelers a more customer-friendly airport experience where they can relax in comfort or work with greater ease."
"I am proud that the City of Houston and United have continued the decades-long partnership that began with Continental," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. "This modern and spacious new terminal is a significant investment in the future of George Bush Intercontinental as a major international hub."
New Concessions Along with Familiar Favorites The new terminal has 15,000 square feet of food and beverage and retail concessions, a 500-percent increase in the concession space over the previous facility. The 17 concessions include two new celebrity-chef venues with local and regional ties, and other first-time dining concessions with Texas roots, as well as several familiar airport favorites.
Chef Bryan Caswell's 3rd Bar Oyster & Eating House and The Fruteria, by Chef Johnny Hernandez, lead the list of dining options, which also includes Texas icon Whataburger; Bullrito's, offering fresh Tex-Mex; and Barcuterie, which will offer cured meats and classic cheeses in an energetic bar setting.
Familiar favorites such as Famous Famiglia, Fresh Gourmet Marketplace, Panda Express and Starbucks round out the Terminal B south concourse food and beverage options.
Travelers in the Terminal B south concourse will also have a variety of shopping options, including The iStore Boutique, travel essentials store, Relay, Brookstone and The Body Shop. Other well-known retail stores include Ice Currency Exchange, Johnston & Murphy, Natalie's Candy Jar and Nuance Duty Free.
"Terminal B south was built with more of the features our customers tell us they value – more seats, more space, more concessions, more outlets and Wi-Fi," said Kate Gebo, United's vice-president of corporate real estate. "The new space will offer United Express customers a travel experience consistent with that of United's Terminals C and E at Bush Intercontinental."
"The renovation of Terminal B is an important demonstration of the cooperation between United Airlines and the Houston Airport System," said Mario C. Diaz, director of the Houston Airport System. "The new facilities, spacious concourse and wide variety of attractive concessions will provide a customer experience that today's passengers have come to expect."
Primary Facility for United Express Flights Terminal B will be the primary facility in Houston for United Express flights operated by regional partners ExpressJet, SkyWest, Trans States and Shuttle America. Together, they operate more than 300 daily flights from Bush Intercontinental Airport to business and leisure destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The carriers operate aircraft ranging in size from 37-seat Embraer 135s, to 50-seat Embraer 145s and CRJ-200s, to 66-seat CRJ-700s and 70-seat Embraer 170s. The new terminal will accommodate regional aircraft with up to 76 seats.
United's investment in the new terminal supported more than 300 local construction jobs, including 31 percent from minority and disadvantaged businesses. Additionally, 45 percent of the Terminal B south concourse concessions are minority-controlled.
The project's design incorporates energy-efficient techniques using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria.
About United United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,472 flights a day to 381 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on nearly 200 aircraft, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has made large-scale investments in its fleet. In 2013, United will continue to modernize its fleet by taking delivery of more than two dozen new Boeing aircraft. The company expanded its industry-leading global route network in 2012, launching nine new international and 18 new domestic routes. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2012, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United's MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 194 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.