With the Houston Airports strategic priorities to build platforms for future success and make our passengers happy squarely in mind, the IAH Terminal Redevelopment Program, ITRP, at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, IAH, continues to make significant strides.
On March 22, Houston Airports Director Mario Diaz and Executive Program Manager, ITRP, Steven Andersen briefed the Houston City Council’s Economic Development Committee on the continuing progress of the program. The committee is chaired by Martha Castex-Tatum, Houston City Councilmember, District K, and reviews matters related to economic development, domestic and international trade, business and job creation and aviation.
Design Near Completion, Construction Underway And Authorization and Requests are Forthcoming
Diaz offered opening remarks and stressed two major points Houston Airports. First, Diaz said that design was “very, very far along” and reminded the committee that the demolition of the Old C North pier was completed in April 2020.
“We have now closed the Terminal D/E Parking Garage structure to prepare for demolition by summer of this year,” Diaz said. “We will have completed all design and will be moving completely into construction. The second objective that we want to accomplish today is to provide you with an advance communication on the authorizations we will be bringing forward to Council for approvals relating to appropriations in order to stay on schedule with the projects.”
Update on the Program
Diaz turned the presentation over to Andersen who provided a comprehensive update and emphasized Houston Airports’ vision and goal of being a 5-star global air service gateway with a passenger focus.
Both Bush and William P. Hobby Airports are currently 4-star rated airports by Skytrax, the international air rating service.
“We obviously have a vision and a goal to be a 5-star global air service gateway,” Andersen said. “We hope and intend this design and implementation with this exciting project will lay a great platform for us to achieve that fifth star. We want to express Houston’s key, unique characteristics and make it memorable. We want to reinforce a cohesive identity for the passenger experience...one seamless passenger experience both from a processing and ease of flow [standpoint] but also a look and feel.”
Andersen said the team had worked to incorporate several important facets into design, including the regional landscape, local vegetation, experiential art, local art features and speed - an ever-important feature for the passenger.
Andersen reprised that ITRP is comprised of a number of projects that include new construction and refurbishment of existing spaces, began when United Airlines built the state-of-the-art New Terminal C North Concourse, completed in early 2017. Houston Airports provided associated utilities and apron works.
Breakdown of Projects
The ITRP projects breakdown includes:
International Terminal – North Concourse Project (new pier and refurbished Terminal D)
International Terminal – Central Processor & Federal Inspection Services Project (a new structure and an expansion to the FIS)
Enabling Utilities – Landside Project (maintains water pressure, improves water distribution through the central terminal area)
Infrastructure Division Office, IDO, Building Project (constructed and completed in spring 2019; houses the Program team, Infrastructure division, and contractors and designers)
Andersen said the Program’s careful planning includes safeguarding for the further expansion of Terminal D as passenger and airline traffic grows and goes beyond the record levels attained pre-COVID-19 pandemic.
“That includes a central pier and an east pier in the plan for future expansion,” Andersen said.
Other prominent features include:
a refurbished Terminal D,
a baggage screening building that includes state-of-the-art baggage and a top level for new club space for VIPs,
new arrivals and drop-off curbs as well as new international terminal processor building,
expansion and consolidation of an international security checkpoint for departing and transferring passengers, with associated upgrades to baggage handling systems. and
modification upgrades to the Federal Inspection Service building.
Targeted International Terminal Complex completion dates include:
New D West Pier Q4 2022
MLIT North Concourse Q3 2023
New Baggage Screening Building Q4 2023
New International Terminal, Phase 1 Opening, Q4 2023
New International Terminal, Phase 2 Opening, Q2, 2024
Andersen said that ITRP was looking to, “really upgrade the passenger experience both from a technology and functionality standpoint and also from a comfort and maintainability perspective.”
ITRP is being built to last.
Andersen also offered a look-ahead for upcoming appropriations totaling $747 million— a figure that includes handing back $11 million in realized project savings.
ITRP’s upcoming Council actions in the second quarter of 2021 include
- funding for the D West Pier,
- the EUL Water Storage and Water Distribution Scope, and
- Terminal C Modifications by United Airlines, UAL and unspent budget related to the New C North April works by UAL.
He also discussed expected Council dates through calendar year 2022 that would include requested appropriations for other projects and for contractors.
Castex-Tatum was complimentary of the presentation and concluded with a question about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic might have on the plans, design and construction of ITRP.
Diaz discussed the amazing advances that aviation and Houston Airports has made with regard to biometrics and the deliberate movement toward a truly touchless, voluminous and clean ITRP environment that would typify the future passenger experience.
“We’re in the process of changing the way passengers get processed through the terminals,” Diaz said.
The program budget remains at $1.3 billion and Program completion is calendar year 2024.