United Airlines plans $2.6B terminal renovation
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Catch up quick: The existing terminal is unable to support United Airlines' new aircraft and is undersized and outdated, according to city documents.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.
- The existing proposal would require the city to fund $624 million in three installments, and Brown, as the city's chief financial officer, has pumped the brakes on the first installment of $150 million.
- While City Council approved a memorandum of agreement two weeks ago, signaling their support, they cannot vote on the funding portion without Brown's signoff.
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.
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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