City of Houston representatives held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Mickey Leland International Terminal (MLIT), starting with the demolition of the Old Terminal C North, on October 18.
The demolition of the old facility at George Bush Intercontinental Airport will make room for six new gates to accommodate wide-body aircraft and facilitate the expansion and redevelopment of the MLIT, with expected completion by 2022.
According to Robert Barker, Houston Airport System’s chief infrastructure officer, the team is in the initial stages of the preparatory work for demolition. “We are building a separation fence that will eventually form a boundary that separates the active airfield from the construction and demolition area,” he said. “It will be a Security Identification Display Area [SIDA] separation up to where the project becomes landside. Concurrently, we are clearing all utilities.”
The demolition project will be virtually invisible to the traveling public – the plan is to safely demolish the building without interfering with ongoing operations within the adjoining buildings.
The development of additional international facilities is needed to support continued unprecedented growth in international traffic at the airport. Nearly 44 million passengers traveled through the airport in 2018, including almost 11 million international passengers, with 2019 expected to be even busier.
The International Terminal Complex will support international flight operations for United Airlines and more than a dozen foreign flag carriers. Additional international gates will accommodate continued international airline growth and larger wide-body aircraft.
The international redevelopment plan resolves current and future roadway and curbside capacity constraints in the central terminal area, improves baggage handling system capacity and reliability challenges, and significantly improves the overall international passenger experience.
The project includes refurbishing the existing MLIT and demolition of the Terminal D/E parking garage to create an international terminal processor between Terminals D and E, where all the international ticketing counters, security checkpoint lanes and baggage claims will be consolidated. The completed facility will include two concourses – one each in the current terminals – where passengers will board their aircraft, dine, or use facilities such as airport lounges.