Dec 1, 2023 - News

United Airlines plans $2.6B terminal renovation

Terminal B renovations. Rendering: PGAL

United Airlines is planning a $2.6 billion renovation and expansion of Terminal B at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, but the city controller continues to decline to sign off on funding for the terminal overhaul.

Catch up quick: The existing terminal is unable to support United Airlines' new aircraft and is undersized and outdated, according to city documents.

  • The massive renovation, expected to be completed in 2026, would expand the terminal to accommodate larger and more aircraft, a new baggage system, a new United club space, and a revamped ticket lobby.
  • On Thursday, United CEO Scott Kirby and Mayor Sylvester Turner celebrated the terminal changes at IAH, pending final approval from Houston's City Council.

State of play: City Controller Chris Brown continues to raise concerns about the financing of the deal and postponed signing the proposal once again this week.

Details: The terminal would include the expansion of 40 gates at IAH, resulting in a 40% increase in the overall number of people who can fly on peak travel dates in 2026 compared to 2023, per the airline.

rendering of an airport lobby
Terminal B interior rendering. Courtesy: PAGE/GRIMSHAW

Meanwhile, the airline is investing in this terminal renovation and announced record-setting profits in the third quarter, and the company's flight attendants' union has been picketing as it's been under contract negotiations for more than two years.

What they're saying: "New planes don't pay the bills for 26,000 United Flight Attendants," Ken Diaz, president of the United chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, said in a statement.

  • "No matter how many new products or services United announces, it will not make a difference until they address the issues we — the workers bringing those products and services to customers — face on the ground every single day."

What's next: The union is planning to picket once again outside of airports on Dec. 14 as holiday travel ramp up.


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