‘Better seating for the modern traveler’ | New furniture, more power outlets, Oculus help new international terminal take shape

A look into the changes coming to Terminal D as Houston Airports continues to make significant progress on its largest capital improvement project. 

August 29, 2023

George Bush Intercontinental Airport comes alive at night. Construction crews have five hours to tackle crucial 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,” explains Kelly Woodward, Assistant Director of Operational Readiness for Houston Airports. “You cannot do this during the day inside a very busy airport.”

Overnight, for five hours, teams of people move through Bush Airport Terminal D much like ants returning from a day of foraging; journeying a half-mile with brand new airport furniture that must be screened and checked by security officers before moving through the airport’s existing international terminal that 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.”

New seating with bigger armrests, more cupholders and more power outlets are being bolted down throughout Terminal D. Modern upgrades like standing desks and family pod seating are renewing the existing terminal, while a whole new section of space will soon expand Terminal D by 6 wide-body gates that can also accommodate 10 narrow-body gates. “New amenities, new furniture,” says Woodward. 

The steel framing for an oculus, measuring 38 feet by 84 feet, in the new International Central Processor is now in place. Once completed, the Oculus will feature 2,000 feet of digital display visible to passengers on two levels of the new building that will house 66 check-in kiosks and 17 lanes for TSA security and baggage claim.


CHANGE IS COMING | The largest capital improvement project in the history of Houston Airports

More than 700 parking spaces are also being added to the Terminal C parking garage and the existing Federal Inspection Services building is 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 in 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.”

Once substantially completed in late 2024, the new international terminal at Bush Airport will feature commissioned artwork from artists around the world; a fine dining experience representative of Houston’s diverse community; and a 5-Star retail experience that will allow passengers to experience Houston without having to leave the airport. 

“I’ve been with Houston Airports for 21 years,” shares Woodward. “This is exciting. We have a brand-new terminal experience coming soon. To be a part of the planning and design, and now to see those plans come to life is simply amazing. Our project motto is Change is Coming. And it really is. Change is coming.” 

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