Terminal B investments include expansion of 40 gates for larger aircraft, allowing for 40% more people to fly from George Bush Intercontinental Airport
New United Club will be the largest in the nation and Early Bag Storage facility is only one of its kind in North America
Airline expects to create 1,500 United positions in Houston next year and another 4,000 construction-related jobs throughout the project
CEO Scott Kirby on hand to celebrate overall growth in Houston as well as new direct flight to Georgetown, Guyana*, and the airline’s new Airbus A321neo
United today announced growth plans in Houston that include a $2.6 billion renovation and expansion of Terminal B at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), a new United ClubSM location and Early Bag Storage facility (EBS) as well as a new direct flight to Georgetown, Guyana*.
These investments are part of the airline’s United Next growth plan and include the expansion of 40 gates at IAH to accommodate larger aircraft, resulting in a 40% increase in the overall number of people who can fly on peak travel dates in 2026 compared to 2023.
United is the largest airline in Houston, with more than 14,000 employees and 400 daily departures – the airline hired more than 2,100 people locally in 2023 and expects to add another 1,500 in 2024. This expansion is also expected to create an additional 4,000 construction jobs. According to a recent study by Compass Lexecon, United’s direct employment in Houston contributes to more than $1.2 billion in economic activity annually. Including the Terminal B project, United has invested more than $3.5 billion in its Houston facilities since 2015.
United CEO Scott Kirby will be joined by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and other officials to celebrate the expansion and show off the airline’s new Airbus A321neo, which takes its inaugural flight from Houston today and is one of 800 new planes set to join United’s fleet between 2023 and 2032.
“United Next is about new investments that improve the customer experience and building careers for the next generation of aviation professionals – and all those things and more are coming to life here in Houston,” said Kirby.
Terminal B Expansion
United’s Terminal B Transformation Program, pending final approval from Houston’s city council, will play an important part in the estimated 54 million future passengers that will annually travel throughout the Houston hub and aims to improve the travel experience from arrival to departure.
Project highlights include:
- A three-level, 765,000 sq. ft. Terminal B North Concourse with 22 mainline, narrow-body gates
- Converting 30 existing small regional jet gates to 18 gates to accommodate larger, two-class regional jets in the Terminal B South Concourse
- Boarding via jet bridge for all flights
- Two major concessions hubs with more than 115,000 sq. ft. of food and retail space
- A new, state-of-the-art baggage handling system equipped with advanced tracking technology
- The largest United Club in our system
- Expanded curbside and roadway capacity with a ground-level check-in area, including the addition of a traffic bypass between Terminals B and A to allow Terminal B customers to exit the airport without having to drive past Terminal A as they do today
- A new sensory room for passengers with disabilities
“Houston is a premier, world-class destination deserving of a state-of-the-art facility to welcome individuals traveling to our city,” said Mayor Turner. “The expansion of Terminal B is physical proof of United’s ongoing commitment to the economic vitality of the City of Houston. We are grateful for United, one of the city’s largest employers, for creating nearly 4,000 new jobs for our community and enhancing the growing demand for domestic and international travel globally.”
New United Club
A new United Club, the largest in the system, is being planned for Terminal B in Houston, which will join the eight new United Club locations that have opened in the last two years – the largest ever overhaul of the airline’s lounge spaces.
United’s new clubs boast 50% more seating space on average than the clubs they replace, higher-quality food and beverage options with local flair, and refined designs that reflect the local market and a modern take on the United Club experience. Last year, United also launched United Club FlySM – a first-of-its-kind grab-and-go club concept in Denver which has been very well received by travelers; this year alone more than 100,000 travelers have visited United Club Fly.
New Direct Service to Georgetown, Guyana
United offers more flights from Houston to more destinations than any other airline and this winter will increase capacity by nearly 10%, flying to more than double the number of cities from Houston than all other airlines combined.
On April 1, United will be the first airline to offer non-stop service between Houston and Georgetown, Guyana*, with four times weekly service on a Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft. This route joins nonstop flights to more than 160 destinations from Houston, including more than 85 destinations no other carriers serve non-stop from the city – including places like Brazil, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Peru and more.
Over the past decade, United has added more than 20 new destinations out of Houston, including to Sydney, Australia; Santiago, Chile; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Munich, Germany and more.
The airline will also debut its largest-ever schedule between Houston and Florida this March, with a 25% increase in flying compared to 2023. The airline is adding more than 200 additional flights in March to top destinations including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Tampa, Orlando and more.
New, Cutting-Edge Baggage System
United today also previewed a new Early Bag Storage facility set to become fully operational in early 2024. With a capacity of more than 3,300 trays to store baggage for passengers arriving early before departure, on long layovers, or during irregular operations when flights are delayed, the system will prioritize the release of baggage according to flight time allowing for more efficient and dependable baggage delivery. The new system has a remarkable 40 bags per-minute throughput enabling United’s overall baggage system to handle an impressive 80,000 bags per day. United is the only U.S. airline with a dedicated EBS facility, making it the most advanced in North America.
A321neo Joins the Fleet
United’s new Airbus A321neo takes its inaugural flight from Houston on November 30. This is the first new Airbus aircraft to enter United’s fleet since 2002 and features United’s most advanced cabin interior yet – including Panasonic’s new NEXT inflight entertainment system, which offers an up to 13 inch, 4K screen and a customizable passenger experience including curated content options, a more detailed flight timeline, 3D map with destination guides and onboard food and beverage menus. The new aircraft also offers:
- United’s new domestic first-class seat, with wireless charging and more privacy
- Larger overhead bins with space for every passenger’s roll aboard bag
- High-speed Wi-Fi with streaming capabilities
- Bluetooth connectivity
- LED lighting designed to create a modern, calming atmosphere
The A321neo is just the latest addition to United’s fleet as progress continues on the airline’s ambitious United Next growth strategy; United expects to take delivery of about 800 new narrowbody and widebody aircraft between 2023 and the end of 2032, while retrofitting existing narrowbody aircraft with United’s Signature Interior.
*flights subject to government approval.
This press release contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements that are not statements of historical facts are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on historical performance and current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about our future financial results, goals, plans, commitments, strategies and objectives and involve inherent risks, assumptions and uncertainties, known or unknown, including internal or external factors that could delay, divert or change any of them, that are difficult to predict, may be beyond our control and could cause our future financial results, goals, plans and objectives to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the statements. These risks, assumptions, uncertainties and other factors include, among others, any delay or inability of United Airlines to realize the expected benefits of the proposed project and that the proposed project will close on the terms or within the time frame described in this document. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many risks and uncertainties that affect United’s business and market, particularly those identified in the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections in United’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, as updated by our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements included in this document are made only as of the date of this document and except as otherwise required by applicable law or regulation, United undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise. The use of words such as “partnered,” “partnering,” “partner” and variations of such words in this press release is not intended to and shall not be construed to imply that a legal partnership relationship exists between United and any other company.