George Bush Intercontinental Airport
|George Bush Intercontinental Airport
|IATA: IAH – ICAO: KIAH – FAA LID: IAH|
|Owner||City of Houston|
|Operator||Houston Airport System|
|Serves||Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land|
|Location||Houston, Texas, United States|
|Hub for||United Airlines|
|Elevation AMSL||97 ft / 30 m|
FAA airport diagram
|Passengers||40,128,953 (24th) (-0.9%)|
|Aircraft operations||517,262 (9th) (-2.7%)|
George Bush Intercontinental Airport, (IATA: IAH, ICAO: KIAH, FAA LID: IAH) is a Class B international airport in Houston, Texas serving the Greater Houston metropolitan area, the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Located about 23 miles (37 km) north of Downtown Houston, between Interstate 45 and Interstate 69/U.S. Highway 59, George Bush Intercontinental Airport has scheduled flights to domestic and international destinations. The airport is named after George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport served 40,187,442 passengers in 2011 making the airport the tenth busiest for total passengers in North America. In 2006, the airport was named the fastest-growing of the top ten airports in the United States by the United States Department of Transportation. Houston Bush Intercontinental is currently the largest passenger carrying hub for United Airlines carrying 16.6 million passengers annually with an average of 45,413 passengers daily.
- 1 History
- 2 Operations
- 3 Terminals, airlines and destinations
- 4 Terminal transportation
- 5 Hotels
- 6 Ground transportation
- 7 Artwork
- 8 Cargo
- 9 Master plan
- 10 Accidents and incidents
- 11 Gallery
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The site for Bush Intercontinental Airport was originally purchased by a group of Houston businessmen in 1957 to preserve the site until the city of Houston could formulate a plan for a second airport, supplanting what was then known as Houston Municipal Airport (later renamed William P. Hobby Airport). The holding company for the land was named the Jet Era Ranch Corporation, but a typographical error transformed the words “Jet Era” into “Jetero” and the airport site subsequently became known as the Jetero airport site. Although the name Jetero was no longer used in official planning documents after 1961, the eastern entrance to the airport was named Jetero Boulevard. Most of Jetero Boulevard was subsequently renamed Will Clayton Parkway.
The City of Houston annexed the Bush Airport area in 1965. This annexation, along with the 1965 annexations of the Bayport area, the Fondren Road area, and an area west of Sharpstown, resulted in a total gain of 51,251 acres (20,741 ha) of land for the city limits.
Houston Intercontinental Airport, as it was originally known, opened in June 1969. All passenger traffic from William P. Hobby Airport moved to Intercontinental upon the airport's completion. Hobby remained open as a general aviation airport and reopened two years later when Southwest Airlines initiated domestic services.
Houston Intercontinental had been scheduled to open in 1967, but design changes regarding the terminals created cost overruns and construction delays. The prime contractor, R.F. Ball Construction of San Antonio, sued the city of Houston for $11 million in damages, but assistant city attorney Joseph Guy Rollins, Jr. successfully defended the municipality on appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.
In the late 1980s, Houston City Council considered a plan to rename the airport after Mickey Leland—an African-American congressman who died in an aviation accident in Ethiopia. Instead of renaming the whole airport, the city named Mickey Leland International Arrivals Building, which would later become Mickey Leland Terminal D, after the congressman. In April 1997, Houston City Council unanimously voted to rename the airport George Bush Intercontinental Airport/Houston, after George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States.
On August 28, 1990, Continental Airlines agreed to build its maintenance center at George Bush Intercontinental Airport; Continental agreed to do so because the city of Houston agreed to provide city-owned land near the airport so that Continental could build its maintenance facility there.
As of 2007, Terminals A and B remain from the original design of the airport. Lewis W. Cutrer Terminal C opened in 1981, the Mickey Leland International Arrivals Building (now called Terminal D) opened in May 1990, and the new Terminal E partially opened on June 3, 2003. The rest of Terminal E opened on January 7, 2004. Terminal D is the arrival point for all international flights arriving into Houston except for flights operated by United Airlines which uses Terminal E. Terminal D also held customs and INS until the opening of the new Federal Inspection Service (FIS) building, completed on January 25, 2005.
In December 2009 the Houston City Council approved a plan to allow Midway Cos. to develop 10 acres (4.0 ha) of land owned by Houston Airport System on the grounds of Bush Airport. Midway plans to develop a travel center for the airport's rental car facility. The city dictated that the developer needed to place a convenience store and gas station facility, a flight information board, a fast casual restaurant, and a sit-down restaurant. Beyond the required buildings, the developer plans to add an office facility between 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) and 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) and additional retail; the developer may add a hotel.
In 2011 Continental Airlines began service to Lagos; this was the airport's first nonstop flight to Africa. The airline was also planning to commence service to Auckland, New Zealand but plans for the Auckland service were cancelled because of new international flights at Hobby Airport (to be operated by Southwest Airlines). United Airlines had postponed the introduction of this service owing to delays associated with the Boeing 787, but still hasn't begun the service with 7 dreamliners currently in its fleet (as of November 2013).
On July 11, 2013, Air China began nonstop flights from Houston to Beijing, China using a Boeing 777-300ER. This is the airport's first nonstop route to continental Asia. Houston also gained nonstop flights to Turkey when Turkish Airlines launched nonstop service to Istanbul on April 1, 2013. Korean Air will commence nonstop flights to Seoul in May 2014, making it the second continental East Asian destination.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport served 40,187,442 passengers in 2011 making the airport the 10th busiest for total passengers in North America. IAH is the 7th largest international passenger gateway in the US and the 7th busiest airport in the world for total aircraft movements. In 2006, the United States Department of Transportation named George Bush Intercontinental Airport the fastest growing of the top ten airports in the United States. The Houston Airport System (HAS) states that the airport's service area includes the following Greater Houston counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller. The airport currently ranks fourth in the United States for non-stop domestic and international service with 182 destinations and about 45 percent of the airport's passengers begin or terminate (O&D) their journey at the airport. Bush Intercontinental ranks first among the major United States airports with the highest on-time performance, according to a 2010 United States Department of Transportation report. As of 2007, with 31 destinations in Mexico, the airport offers service to more Mexican destinations than any other United States airport.
The Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center, located on the airport grounds at 16600 JFK Boulevard, serves as the region's ARTCC. The HAS administrative offices are also on the airport property.
Terminals, airlines and destinations
There are three main entrances into IAH's terminal areas. John F. Kennedy Boulevard is the main north-south artery into the airport and intersects with Greens Road becoming an expressway leading to the terminals (by traveling east on Greens Road, one can access the nearby Greenspoint business and residential district). Will Clayton Parkway, which runs east to west, is another main road for IAH. IH 69/US 59 is connected to IAH by Will Clayton Parkway. The Hardy Tollway Connector runs from west to east connecting JFK Boulevard to the Hardy Toll Road.
The airport has a total of five terminals encompassing 250 acres (1 km²)., with a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) distance from Terminal A to Terminal D.
Terminal A was one of the original two terminals to open in 1969 and was designed by Goleman & Rolfe and George Pierce-Abel B. Pierce. Like Terminal B, it originally had four circular modules (called "Flight Stations" locally) at the end of corridors radiating out of the corners of the terminal. However, in the late-1990s and early-2000s, the North and South Concourses were rebuilt into linear facilities which provide a smoother operation within the terminal. The project was completed in 2002 and was designed by Gensler. Terminal A has 20 gates, with 10 gates in the North Concourse and 10 gates in the South Concourse. Today the terminal handles all non-United domestic and Canada operations (including Air Canada Jazz commuter operations) and some United Express operations.
The food court areas are in the center of each concourse, near the departure gates. A small United Club is found in the North concourse.
Terminal B was also one of the original two terminals of the airport to open in 1969 and was also designed by Goleman & Rolfe and George Pierce-Abel B. Pierce. It is mostly an unaltered terminal from its original design and is now used solely by United Express commuter flights. For this reason, the jet bridges are considerably lower to the ground than most others. There are 37 gates and 20 hardstand gates. The terminal serves all United Express operations except for international arrivals. The terminal underwent minor renovations from 1997 to 2001, designed by Gensler. In 2011 the City of Houston announced that it would demolish the gate areas of Terminal B and rebuild them. The architect for the project is Pierce, Goodwin, Alexander & Linville. The first phase of the terminal's renovation broke ground on January 23, 2012. Phase one of the project was completed in April 2013, and the first 15 gates of the new South Concourse opened for operations on May 21, 2013.
Terminal C (also known as Lewis W. Cutrer Terminal) was the third terminal to open at the airport following A and B in 1981. It was designed by the Houston firm of Airport Architects, a joint venture of Golemon and Folfe Architects and Pierce and Pierce Architects. It serves as United Airlines' main base of domestic operations. The airline operate two United Clubs in the terminal. Terminal C has 31 gates. The terminal includes the airport's interfaith chapel. The terminal underwent renovations from 2000 to 2005 and was designed by Gensler.
Terminal D (also known as Mickey Leland Terminal) opened in 1990 as the International Arrivals Building (IAB) and was later renamed the Mickey Leland International Arrivals Building. The $95 million terminal was designed by Golemon and Folfe Architects, Pierce Goodwin Alexander, James L. Marshall Associates, and Molina and Associates,.
The IAB, equipped with a Federal Inspection Facility (FIS) and US Customs services, consolidated all international arrivals into one terminal. Since the opening of Terminal E/FIS, Terminal D now houses all non-United international flights except for United Express international arrivals. In Terminal D airlines share gates, ticket counters, and terminal equipment, making it a "common use" facility. It is the first "common use facility" to be established in the United States. The Terminal D food court is located in the departures area. In 2007 the airport authority began renovations in which 20 additional common-use ticket counters, upscale retail and restaurant shops, and new on-airport spa/beauty lounge will be added over the next few years.
Terminal D has 12 gates and several international lounges, including a British Airways Executive, British Airways FIRST, Lufthansa Senator, KLM Crown, Air France, and an Executive Lounge for Singapore, Emirates, Qatar, and Lufthansa.
Terminal E is IAH's newest terminal, and houses United Airlines's international operations and some domestic operations. The terminal was designed by Corgan Associates, and it opened in two phases. The first phase opened in 2002 with 14 gates, and the second phase added 16 gates in 2003 for a total of 30. United operates one large, 3 floor, United Club in Terminal E. Originally Continental (before merging with United) used the terminal solely for domestic flights, but relocated its international services to the new terminal after the new Federal Inspection Service (FIS) building opened. The terminal was designed for maximum flexibility, with jetways that were able to handle any aircraft. Currently, all United international mainline flights arrive at Terminal E while all United Express international flights arrive at Terminals D and E, then depart out of Terminal B. In addition to international flights, some larger United domestic mainline flights also operate out of the terminal.
Airlines and destinations
|1||Mexico City, Mexico||600,876||Aeromexico, Aeromexico Connect, Continental/United|
|3||London (Heathrow), United Kingdom||486,090||British Airways, Continental/United|
|4||San Jose, Costa Rica||390,432||Continental/United|
|5||Calgary, Canada||300,748||Air Canada, Continental/United|
|6||Amsterdam, Netherlands||295,049||Continental/United, KLM|
|7||Guatemala City, Guatemala||277,360||Continental/United|
|8||Panama City, Panama||243,729||Continental/United|
|9||Frankfurt, Germany||200,576||Continental/United, Lufthansa|
|10||Paris, France||189,549||Air France, Continental/United|
|1||Los Angeles, CA||700,000||American, Spirit, United|
|2||Chicago, IL||673,000||American, Spirit, United|
|3||Denver, CO||654,000||Frontier, Spirit, United|
|4||San Francisco, CA||492,000||United|
|5||Dallas/Fort Worth, TX||488,000||American, United|
|7||Las Vegas, NV||442,000||Spirit, United|
|8||Charlotte, NC||441,000||United, US Airways|
|9||Atlanta, GA||400,000||Delta, United|
|10||Phoenix, AZ||393,000||United, US Airways|
Atlas Air offers a thrice-weekly charter service to Luanda, Angola on behalf of SonAir. Atlas Air replaced World Airways in June 2010. These charter flights are intended to service companies operating in the oil industry in Angola which are members of the US/Africa Energy Association (USAEA).
An above ground train called TerminaLink connects Terminals A, B, C, D, E and the International Arrivals Building (IAB) for those with connecting flights in different terminals and provides sterile airside connections. This allows passengers to travel within the airport without having to re-enter security. TerminaLink has four stops: Terminal A, Terminal B, Terminal C, and Terminals D/E including the IAB. The airport has expanded the line to Terminal A at a cost of US $100 million. Construction began on the extension in early 2008 and was completed in 2010.
An underground inter-terminal train outside of the sterile zone connects all five terminals and the airport hotel which can be accessed by all. This system is based on the WEDway PeopleMover technology developed by the Walt Disney Company.
The airport houses an on-site hotel, a Marriott, between Terminals B and C and is accessible via the inter-terminal train. The hotel has 566 rooms, two restaurants, a cocktail lounge, a coffee shop and a conference center.
From Downtown Houston one can travel to George Bush Intercontinental by taking Interstate 69/U.S. Route 59 (Eastex Freeway) to Beltway 8 or to Will Clayton Parkway, and access the airport from either road. From Downtown one could also take Interstate 45 (North Freeway), connect to Beltway 8, and enter the airport from the Beltway. The Hardy Toll Road has an exit from the north or south to the airport.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, or METRO, offers bus service available at the south side of Terminal C. The 102 Bush IAH Express serves the airport. Previously, METRO also operated an express bus service known as Airport Direct, launched in the summer of 2008, which traveled from Downtown Houston to Terminal C via the HOV lane of the Eastex Freeway (I-69)/(US 59). In 2010, in an effort to increase ridership and maximize revenue, METRO reduced the fare of Airport Direct and closed a dedicated passenger plaza for the service in Downtown Houston; instead, the bus stopped at several downtown hotels. The fare each way was reduced from $15 to $4.50. The fare change increased ridership levels but decreased cash flow. METRO consistently provided the service at an operational loss. However, in the summer of 2011, METRO announced that it was discontinuing the Airport Direct service, while the Route 102 local service (which serves the greater Greenspoint business and residential district before traveling on I-45 to access downtown) continued to operate.
Regularly scheduled bus and shuttle service is provided by various carriers to locations from IAH to Reliant Park/Reliant Astrodome, Downtown Houston, Uptown, Greenway Plaza, the Texas Medical Center, hotels in the Westchase and Energy Corridor business districts, the city of College Station and William P. Hobby Airport. Super Shuttle also provides service from George Bush Intercontinental Airport to the surrounding communities via shared vans.
Taxis can be hailed through the Ground Transportation employees outside each terminal. All destinations within Houston's city limits to/from Bush Intercontinental Airport are charged according to the flat Zone Rate or the meter rate. Within a 15 minute cab ride, one can access Deerbrook Mall in Humble and the Greenspoint business district. Within a 45-minute cab ride, one can access the Houston Museum District, The Galleria, and the city arboretum.
Taxi drivers at Bush airport wait longer to be dispatched for pickups of passengers than drivers at other airports in major U.S. cities. Josh Harkinson of the Houston Press said "Houston cabbies can easily wait six hours." The lives of many taxi drivers working at the airport revolve around the airport's taxi lot, nicknamed "Cabbieville." Taxi drivers servicing the airport come from many countries around the world.
Ed Carpenter's "Light Wings", a multicolored glass sculpture suspended below a sky light, adorns the Terminal A North Concourse. In Terminal A, South Concourse stands Terry Allen's "Countree Music." Allen's piece is a cast bronze tree that plays instrumental music by Joe Ely and David Byrne, though the music is normally turned off. The corridor leading to Terminal A displays Leamon Green's "Passing Through," a 200-foot (61 m) etched glass wall depicting airport travelers.
The elevators in Terminal B are cased in stainless steel accordion shaped structures designed by Rachel Hecker. The corridor leading to Terminal B has Dixie Friend Gay's "Houston Bayou." This work is composed of an 8 x 75 ft (2.4 x 23 m) Byzantine glass mosaic mural depicting scenes from Houston's bayous and wetlands, several bronze animals embedded in the floor, and five mosaic columns.
Lights Spikes Jay Baker, shown in the photo, was created for the 1990 G7 Summit when it was hosted by President George H. W. Bush in Houston. The sculpture was relocated to the airport outside of E Terminal after the meetings from its original location in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The distance between each “spike” and this point is relative to the distance between Houston and the capital of the country the flags represent. The countries represented are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Canada, Italy and Germany, as well as the European community and the columns lean at a ten degree angle toward a central point that represents Houston. The airport has a display of lighted modern sculptures between terminals C and D.
George Bush Intercontinental ranks as the 12th-largest gateway in the United States in terms of international air cargo moved. The facility moved 389,075 metric tons of cargo in 2010.
The facility can handle up to 20 widebody aircraft at one time and has expanded to an operational area of 880,000 sq ft (81,752 m2) over the last five years. The CargoCenter has its own separate Federal Inspection Facitilty (FIS) that houses Customs, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), United States Department of Agriculture, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The facility also includes the International Air CargoCenter II, a 60,000 sq ft (18,288 m2) perishable cargo handling facility. It is located in the IAH CargoCenter and offer direct ramp access for cargo airlines as well as importers and distributors of perishable goods. The center is recoginized as an official Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF).
The city of Houston presented its master plan update for IAH in 2005. The near-term plan calls for Terminal B's circular flight stations to be rebuilt into linear facilities similar to Terminal A. Construction of a new 155,000-square-foot (14,400 m2) pier at Terminal D, capable of handling six additional wide body aircraft, is slated for completion in 2013.
The long-term plans call for the existing unit terminals to be demolished and the North and South Concourses to be linked midway. Soon after, all of the facilities in the North and South Concourses will be linked together to form two long continuous facilities. In addition, a new Central Passenger Processing facility will also be built, called the East Terminal along with an underground people mover.
Airfield improvements include a new Runway 8C-26C, a new Runway 9R-27L, a perimeter taxiway, and access roadways. If the FAA selects new sites for runways, the FAA may buy land from the Glen Lee Place and Heather Ridge Village subdivisions, which are located off of Lee Road.
Accidents and incidents
The following involved flights departing or arriving at the airport:
- 1973: National Airlines Flight 27: Depressurization ejected a passenger after the fan assembly disintegrated en route to McCarran International Airport.
- 1975: February 1, Douglas DC-3 N15HC of Horizon Properties crashed on approach when the port wing collided with an electricity pylon. The aircraft was on a domestic non-scheduled passenger flight from Lawton Municipal Airport, Oklahoma to Huntsville Regional Airport, Texas. Due to weather conditions, the flight was diverted to Houston. Of the 16 occupants, two crew and three passengers were killed.
- 1990: Executive/Grumman G1 Operated by Rowan Drilling Company: Power loss in engine after take-off resulted in a failed attempt to regain altitude en route to New Orleans International Airport. The aircraft crashed on departure from Runway 15L and came to rest midfield along a parallel taxiway. There were three fatalities.
- 1991: Continental Express Flight 2574 (Britt Airways): Broke into pieces en route from Laredo to Houston Intercontinental. There were 14 fatalities.
- On February 19, 1996, a Continental Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 operating as Continental Airlines Flight 1943 from Ronald Reagan National Airport arriving in Houston, Texas landed with its landing gear in the stowed position on Runway 27. The aircraft slid for 6,915 feet (2,108 m) on its belly before coming to a stop on the runway 140 feet (43 m) left of the runway centerline approximately at the departure end of the runway. There were no fatalities and only minor injuries. The aircraft was written off.
- On December 20, 2008, a Continental Airlines Boeing 737–500 operating as Flight 1404 from Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado to Bush Airport overran Runway 34R, and caught fire during its takeoff roll. There was no snow or ice on the runway; however, there were 31-knot (36 mph) crosswinds at the time of the accident. On July 13, 2010 the NTSB report stated that the probable cause of this accident was the captain's cessation of right rudder input, which was needed to maintain directional control of the airplane, about 4 seconds before the excursion, when the airplane encountered a strong and gusty crosswind that exceeded the captain's training and experience. Of the 115 people on board, at least 38 sustained injuries, at least two of these were injured critically.
- On May 2, 2013, gunman Carnell Marcus Moore of Beaumont, Texas fired shots from a Glock semi-automatic pistol into the ceiling of a terminal. A Homeland Security officer fired upon and wounded Moore in the right shoulder before Moore shot himself. There was an AR-15 rifle in a suitcase that was not used, while a suicide note was found stating he had a "monster within" and he wanted police to stop him before he hurt others 
Flight information display system at Terminal B
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- Houston airport shooter killed self, police say By Brad Lendon, CNN Fri May 3, 2013
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