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Hobby Terminal Construction

Houston Airport System
May 24, 2010

© Houston Airport System
The "HH Vector" art piece and new entryway will both grab passengers attention

The landscape is changing on a daily basis at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), as a terminal re-design project brings about new ticketing areas, new art pieces and promises of even more changes in the near future.

The $250 million makeover has already presented passengers with a more aesthetically pleasing entryway and lobby, and soon, passengers will be enjoying a new airline ticket-counter space.

“Our planning, design, construction teams and contractors are working together like well-oiled machines,” said Mary Case, airport manager of Hobby.” “It’s never easy to undertake so much construction with critical areas such as ticketing involved, but everything was well planned and is being executed.”

The new ticketing area will serve as home for all air carriers at Hobby, except for Southwest Airlines, which will remain in its current location.

That means passengers flying with American Airlines, AirTran, Delta and Jet Blue will be walking past the airlines’ former ticketing area, and checking-in at new counters located slightly to the east of the old location.

Hobby’s newest carrier, Branson AirExpress will also be operating in the newly-built area. Exhaustive planning has already taken place so that overnight moving can occur and disruption in service can be minimized.

Inbound passengers will also be noticing significant changes at Hobby, as a dramatic new piece of art is suspended from the ceiling in the facility’s east wing.

The area housing the new art piece contains a newly built stairwell which leads passengers to a temporary baggage claim area.

The art piece, called Vector HH and created by Italian artist Luca Buvoli, is a visually dynamic structure of a human figure, flying with open arms suspended over two new escalators directly across from the new stairwell.

“It’s part of the wow factor,” said Case. “We’re calling this area the eclipse.”

The interim baggage claim area is needed because on June 2 the existing baggage space is going to be walled off and a major remodeling effort will get underway. The makeover will affect just about every corner of the existing space and is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete.

Other projects have more to do with recovery than remodeling. For example, in front of the terminal building visitors will likely notice a large orange canopy. Thirty-two skylights within the canopy were damaged during Hurricane Ike, so the plan is to remove the structure entirely. The process will likely take up to 11 days to complete and part of the plan also calls for the temporary closing of the upper ramp, where drivers typically drop off departing passengers.

During the closure, an excellent alternative will be found in the level 2 parking garage. The garage entrance will be open to drivers looking to drop off passengers, as well as private vehicles, limousines and taxicabs.

“We’re ahead of schedule,” said Bill White, senior project manager for Hobby airport. “Our construction teams are really motivated, highly trained and are beating all of their schedules.”

Passengers will continue to notice significant changes at Hobby over the next several months, but when the multi-million-dollar construction project is completed, there’s little doubt that Houstonians will say it was well worth it.

Copyright © 2010 - Houston Airport System

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