United Airlines to spend $2.6bn and create jobs as it expands Houston hub  

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United Airlines has announced massive expansion plans for its hub at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH). The project will involve a $2.6 billion renovation and expansion of Terminal B at the airport, plus a new United Club lounge facility and the installation of a state-of-the-art baggage system.   

The investment is part of the airline’s ‘United Next’ growth strategy, including the expansion of 40 gates at Houston to accommodate larger aircraft. The development will result in a 40% increase in the overall number of people who can use the terminal at peak times when completed in 2026 compared to 2023.  

United is the largest airline in Houston, with more than 14,000 employees and 400 daily departures. In terms of recruitment, the airline hired more than 2,100 people in the Houston area in 2023 and expects to add another 1,500 in 2024. This expansion is also likely to create an additional 4,000 construction jobs.   

United’s announcement regarding its Houston operation comes as the airline celebrated the expansion plans for Terminal B and also showed off its first Airbus A321neo, registered N44501, which operated the carrier’s inaugural A321neo flight from Houston to Chicago (ORD). The aircraft is one of 800 new planes set to join United’s fleet between 2023 and 2032.  

United Airlines

On April 1, 2024, United will also inaugurate a new service from Houston to Georgetown, Guyana (GEO), becoming the first airline to offer non-stop service on the route. The flight will operate four times weekly using 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 airport. Over the past decade, United has added more than 20 new destinations to its network from Houston.  

These include services to Sydney (SYD), Santiago (SCL), Chile, Punta Cana (PUJ), and Munich (MUC), among others.   

The airline will also debut its largest-ever schedule between Houston and Florida in March 2024, with a 25% increase in flying compared to 2023. The airline is adding more than 200 additional flights in March to several key destinations in Florida, including Miami (MIA), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Palm Beach (PBI), Fort Myers (RSW), Tampa (TPA), and Orlando (MCO).  

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