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Sun, Feb 26, 2023

United Airlines IAH Operations to Expand

IAH Terminal Refurbishments Proceeding Apace

In January 2023, United Airlines (UAL)—the Chicago-headquartered U.S. airline with eight hubs and flight operations spanning six continents—opened a new training center at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

Dubbed the Global Inflight Training Center, United Airlines officials state the new 56,000-square-foot facility will create upwards of 1,800 jobs in the Greater Houston area and train six-hundred new United flight attendants monthly.

Following mass, COVID layoffs, the U.S. airline industry has rebounded to a current, estimated total of 784,000 employees—an 18.6% increase over pre-pandemic staffing levels—so claims the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

United Airlines vice-president of IAH operations Phil Griffith reports the airline has invested heavily in its Houston presence, allocating $32-million to the new training center and another $100-million to its early baggage system facility.

Mr. Griffith remarked: “Given our decisions made during the pandemic, the airline is in a unique position as it relates to hiring and job growth.”

United Airlines set forth that the new training center—by virtue of its numerous classrooms, training stations, and an aquatic center featuring a 125,000-gallon pool in which flight attendant trainees will practice safe water landing evacuation strategies—more than doubles the size of the air-carrier’s previous facility.

Speaking to the subject of the training center’s opening, Mr. Griffith averred the airline is currently about the endeavor of replacing nearly 29,000 employees lost between November 2019 and November 2020—approximately 31.6% of the air-carrier’s U.S. national workforce.

“With an increased fleet and renewed travel demand, the airline hired 15,000 people in 2022 and is on track to add another 15,000 in 2023 network-wide,” Griffith stated.

United’s $100-million IAH early baggage system facility is slated to be completed in autumn 2023. Subject facility is designed to temporarily store articles of passenger luggage pending departures of UAL flights. While the new baggage system facility is not a part of the Houston Airport System’s $1.36-billion International Terminal Redevelopment Program, Mr. Griffith revealed the facility will be connected to the new international terminal’s lobby.

According to Houston Airport System director of communications Augusto Bernal, work on the IAH International Terminal Redevelopment Program—which has been underway since 2019—went on, largely unimpeded, throughout the COVID madness. The project, which is on track to be largely completed by late 2024, includes an overhaul of the international terminal complex so extensive that the resultant facility will accommodate the contemporaneous operations of more than 15 international air-carriers.

The program comprises two discrete projects: the North Concourse Project, which includes the refurbishment of the existing Terminal D facility and the demolition and construction of the new Terminal D West Concourse; and the Central Processor and Federal Inspection Services Project, which includes the demolition of the existing Terminal D-E parking garage, roadway modifications, construction of the new International Central Processor building, and modifications to the existing Federal Inspection Services building.

FMI: www.united.com

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