Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Expansion plans at IAH

Chronicle had an article last weekend on the "preferred" expansion plan for Bush Intercontinental Airport over the next 20 years, if approved. There are additional details at the IAH website here. They are projecting a 70% increase in takeoffs and landings over the next 20 years, which, if applied to Continental alone, means moving from 700 flights/day to almost 1,200 flights/day. No hub in the world currently does that many. Delta in Atlanta is the largest, with 1,000 flights/day, and American at DFW is second, with 800 flights/day. Of course, both of them will grow plenty over the next 20 years too, so I doubt Continental/IAH will be largest in 2025.

The plan includes two new runways, bringing the total to seven(!). Seven runways definitely qualifies as a super-mega airport, up there with Denver and DFW. Four of them will be available for parallel approaches, meaning Continental will be able to move a lot of planes in and out very quickly, making for a more efficient hub.

The plan includes tearing down the old Marriott hotel and replacing it with new terminal space. International terminal D is also slated for expansion (probably an arm or two sticking out into the tarmac like C and E have). This seems much more prudent than one of the alternative plans under consideration, which would have demolished all the existing terminals to build an entirely new structure farther north. That seems incredibly wasteful. Obviously, they came to the same conclusion.

Airports often get a little extravagant, because, when you start talking about tens of millions of people going through your airport every year, and charging each of them a $5, 10, 15, or even $20 fee (built into the ticket price), that gives them one heck of a cash stream to build, well, pretty much anything.

As far as the local neighbors complaining, my sympathy is minimal. I know the extra noise is hard on them, but the airport has been there since 1969, and they've always said they plan to expand and reconfigure it as it grows. If you bought a house around there in the last 36 years, you had to know the risk you were taking. They should've required a signed document by all home buyers within several miles of the airport saying they understand the situation, accept the risk, and are not entitled to recourse. That would settle these protests real quick.

(Blog note: Headed to Austin for a meeting. Probably no posts for the next couple days.)


At 10:26 AM, June 13, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seven runways. Why not eight? I'd like to believe it's because it's a well designed airport that customers love to use that this is occurring, but I'd be kidding myself. IAH is a mess, it's layout nowhere resembling the thoughtful layout that was in the works 30 years ago. Seven runways are required because of something that no right-thinking aviator would believe - that despite the scientific evidence shown by wind-rose analysis over 20 years, the city decided it would build the runways in an east-west orientation. Apparently IAH managers had come up with a way to mitigate that old chestnut about landing into the wind!

So for the folks that bought houses around the airport stragetically placed to avoid the "planned" runways of 30 years ago, tough luck. There will be safety issues of course, the Lear jet that crashed short of the runway a few years back will now be crashing somewhere around Rosewood Cemetery. An efficiency move by the city I suppose.

The truth is that the city by abandoning it's early plans has created this mess and must invest good after bad in order to grow this monstrosity. Being an enthusiast I don't mind the airport being next door but let's be honest, level the darned thing and let's do it correctly this time. Good after bad is in no one's interest.

G. Forestieri
Humble area resident

At 3:26 PM, November 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tough Luck?"
OH, I get it.
It's not YOUR house. Not the place
YOU have been toiling to pay for for the last 20 years. Doesn't affect YOUR equity a bit.
OH, I see,
so, that..whole "imminent domain" thing , where the rights of the individual are swept aside for the common prosperity is really what this world has gotten to be all about.(spelled .. GREED )
"Tough, (all you working class peons, you should have STOLEN enough money to move up in the world.How dare you strive to pay for a home, only to have it in the way of progress.)"
Tough, yeah. heartless.

At 2:36 PM, May 14, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live further east near Lake Houston and although I will only be slightly affected, I feel for the ones who will bear the brunt of "progress". At the least, the city of Houston(?)should purchase the houses at the affected subdivision/s at twice the market value since the city will be able to get its money back easily.

At 3:34 PM, May 14, 2009, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Twice value is a little strong, and may be problematic in that it leads speculators to try to invest in such opportunities both there and elsewhere in the future (if it sets a precedent). I think maybe 10-20% over peak assessed/market values from the last 5 years or so, before speculation about new runways hurt values.


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