Houston City Council members unanimously approved a funding and phasing plan for a new international terminal building at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
The new facility would replace the existing Mickey Leland International Terminal Building, Terminal D, and would be constructed in the same location as the existing structure.
“Houston is firmly established as a key player on the global market stage, and we need an international terminal building that adequately reflects that standing,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “International travel is vital to both our economic health and our quality of life. We’ve been remarkably successful in attracting new international air service to Houston, and now it’s time to address the infrastructure needs at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.”
The news of a landmark expansion at IAH comes barely 10 months after construction started at Houston Hobby, which is also building a new international terminal thanks to Southwest Airlines. If the Bayou City has a goal of becoming the United States’ premiere international gateway, it seems like these projects will put the area well on the way.
With the constant stream of “Houston booming” stories, many people are probably questioning if the city needs all of these huge, simultaneous projects right now. It’s a fair question to ask, as a lot of money is being spent in the area to get all of this done. For the airport system at least, here are a few concrete reasons for “Why Houston, why now?”…
1) Some of this growth is actually being directed to Houston by the federal government. In an effort to alleviate air traffic at very busy sites like Atlanta and New York, the FAA steered more air traffic through Houston as a way for flights to save on fuel costs and cut carbon emissions. Many of these new routes, which result in shorter flights for the airlines, started at the end of May.
2) Houston has seen impressive growth in International Flight service, with much of it warranted by demand. In just one year, the flight scheduled has added non-stops to Seoul, Munich, Beijing and Istanbul. New flights to Stavanger, Norway, Chile and possibly another destination will be announced later this year.
No question about it… the Houston airport system is booming right now. But given the growing importance of air travel in a global world, hopefully this boom will lead to better prosperity for the region in the years to come.