City of Houston Mayor's Office of Communications 

Mayor's Press Release

Houston City Council to Vote on United Airlines Terminal B Expansion Project

March 1, 2024 -- Mayor John Whitmire announced today that he has placed the United Airlines proposal for Terminal B upgrades at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on next week's city council agenda.

Houston City Council will vote Wednesday, March 6, on the proposed ordinance to allocate $150,000,000 from the Airport System Consolidated 2011 Construction Fund for a Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Houston and United.

United is working on a $2.55 billion transformational project to triple the capacity of the existing Terminal B at IAH. Opened in 1969, Terminal B is one of the original terminals at Bush Airport, and its infrastructure is undersized and outdated. A new Terminal B will triple the capacity on curbs and roads and provide safe, clean, and world-class facilities. The project includes 40 new gates for domestic and international travel, a new processor for ticketing, security, and baggage claim, and two new concourses, creating over 3,000 new jobs in Houston.

"My administration has been asking questions from day one to ensure this proposal was a good business decision for the City of Houston. I have listened to United, the City's financial advisors, and the business community. Houston needs first-class facilities as a global city that welcomes millions of travelers to IAH annually. It is important for the airline and the millions of passengers traveling in and out of IAH every year. We will get this done the right way," said Mayor Whitmire.

"United is proud of our position as Houston's leading airline and the Terminal B transformation will set a new standard for air travel at George Bush Intercontinental Airport," said Toby Enqvist, Chief Operating Officer at United. "We look forward to continued investment in this vibrant city as we double down on people, infrastructure and technology to fuel our United Next growth plans."

United Airlines expects to invest more than $1.9 billion in the Terminal B Transformation Program and the City of Houston expects to fund $624 million in enabling projects required for the program. The enabling project costs assumed by the City of Houston are fully recoverable over time and after the project's completion through rates and charges payable by airlines and other operators at IAH with whom the City has agreements. The funding to be provided by the Houston Airport System enterprise fund is consistent with federal law as an appropriate use of airport revenues.

"The transformation of IAH Terminal B not only promises an elevated passenger experience with cutting-edge technology and modern amenities but signifies a strategic investment in Houston's economic future as we seek to increase the terminal's capacity for even more passengers from curb to gate," said Jim Szczesniak, Director of Aviation for Houston Airports. "The economics of this project are excellent for Houstonians: more than a 25% return on a Net Present Value basis. More than a renovation, this project is a declaration of our commitment to progress and innovation, solidifying Houston's position as a global aviation hub while setting a new standard for airport excellence."

The mayor's decision to move forward on this critical infrastructure proposal will have broad implications for the business and travel sectors that frequently rely on travel through IAH.

"United's plan to renovate and expand Terminal B at IAH is a critical part of the infrastructure needed to support Houston's economy and our expanding tourism industry. Last year's record traffic through Houston airports is illustrative of our growth as both a destination for travelers and a broader aviation hub. The increased capacity, efficiency and modern amenities of the new Terminal B are just the things that will enhance the traveler experience and are important for Houston to remain a premier travel destination. Houston First recognizes United's long-term commitment to the Houston community and strongly supports this project moving forward," said Michael Heckman, President & (CEO) of Houston First Corporation.

"We applaud the announcement of the Terminal B project moving forward and appreciate United Airlines' significant investments in Houston. Investments in IAH will result in increased economic activity and bolster our economy. Houston is an opportunity city, and expanding Houston's global connections is vital to our continued growth. We thank Mayor John Whitmire, Controller Chris Hollins, members of City Council, and Airport Director Jim Szczesniak for their support of this project. We also thank the entire team at United Airlines, including CEO Scott Kirby and Partnership Board Member Gerry Laderman, and Phil Griffith, Vice President - Houston Hub, for their steadfast commitment to Houston," said Greater Houston Partnership President and CEO, Steve Kean.