George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston has begun installing modern seating – with bigger armrests and more cupholders and power outlets – inside Terminal D’s new International Central Processor.
There will also be modern upgrades like standing desks and family pod seating, and an extension with six wide-body gates that can also accommodate 10 narrow-body gates in Terminal D.
The steel framing for an oculus measuring 11.5 x 25.5m in the new International Central Processor is now in place. Once completed, the oculus will feature 61m of digital displays visible to passengers on two levels of the new building, which will house 66 check-in kiosks and 17 lanes for TSA security and baggage claim.
Each night, construction crews have five hours to tackle these projects safely and efficiently. The tight window of time measures the lull between the last flights of one day and the first flights of the next. “It’s a huge, complex operation,” explained Kelly Woodward, assistant director of operational readiness for Houston Airports. “You cannot do this during the day inside a very busy airport.”
The teams journey almost a kilometer with the new airport furniture, which must be screened and checked by security officers before moving through the airport’s existing international terminal, which is now under construction. New furniture comes in, old furniture gets carried out. “The tile has come in. The carpet has come in,” says Woodward. “We’re now in the furniture phase of redesigning all of our gate-hold areas. Every night for three weeks, we’ll be bringing in furniture and redesigning 12 gate-hold areas.”
This seating update forms part of Houston Airports’ largest capital improvement project so far. Once substantially completed in late 2024, the new international terminal at Bush Airport will reportedly feature commissioned artwork from artists around the world; a dining experience representative of Houston’s diverse community; and a 5-star retail experience that will enable passengers to experience Houston without having to leave the airport. The company will also add more than 700 parking spaces to the Terminal C parking garage. The existing Federal Inspection Services building is also being modernized.
“In September, the FIS project will approach one million hours,” says Khalid Radwan, executive program manager of the IAH Terminal Redevelopment Program for Houston Airports. “Safety is the priority of our construction projects. We pride ourselves on the dedication and commitment to a safe work environment, which requires a great deal of intricate planning to successfully execute a redevelopment program of this magnitude.”
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