In pursuit of excellence.
When a group of visionary businessmen purchased title and deed rights to a plot of land 23 miles north of downtown Houston in 1957, they pushed for the creation of a second airport to operate alongside William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). When Houston Intercontinental Airport opened 12 years later in 1969, how could they have known that their pursuit of excellence was the initial catalyst for amazing growth and development over nearly 50 years?
In 1997, the airport was renamed Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in honor of George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States. Today, IAH has a worldwide reach that actively seeks to fulfill its mission statement to connect the “people, businesses, cultures and economies of the world to Houston.” That pursuit of excellence continues as IAH provides nonstop service to 116 domestic destinations and nonstop or direct service to 69 international destinations.
In 2014, the Houston Airport System (HAS) identified a significant need for the development of additional facilities at IAH to handle aircraft, passengers, and cargo departing to, and arriving from, domestic and international destinations on scheduled and chartered flights. HAS undertook a major capital improvement program, known as the IAH Terminal Redevelopment Program (ITRP).
The Mickey Leland International Terminal (IAH Terminal D), which serves international flights, is at capacity during peak hours and exceeds capacity four to five weeks of the year. Prior to the ITRP, only minor cosmetic improvements had been made to the terminal since its opening in 1990, while the passenger traffic has almost quadrupled.
The international terminal complex will accommodate Houston operations for more than a dozen foreign flag carriers and United Airlines’ international service. All gates will accommodate international growth trends from air carriers, such as their need for gates that are capable of handling large Group VI aircraft. IAH is the nation’s eighth-busiest international gateway and the completion of ITRP will allow IAH to remain competitive with similarly-sized airports and respond to the growth in international traffic.
The scope of the project includes:
- New Terminal D facilities
- Terminal roadway improvements
- New airside packages (ramp areas)
- Training center
- Federal Inspection Service (FIS) modifications
- New Terminal C North, ramp and apron completed by United Airlines
- Enabling projects: Program Management Office building, site utilities, and Terminal D baggage handling system modifications.
Construction for the enabling projects began in 2017, and completion for most of the program is slated for 2024.