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NHG Chamber hears Houston Airport System’s future plans

The head of the 4th largest airport system in the nation, and the 6th in the world, is one description of Rick Vacar that the members of the NHGreenspoint Chamber heard at November’s luncheon.
Vacar is also a pilot, having flown 4400 hours, so he knows quite a bit about airports. He told the luncheon guests about the successes of the Houston Airport System’s 3 airports, and future plans for growth and expansion to meet the inevitable pressures of more flights.

Currently the HAS handles about 55,000,000 passengers per year, and is projected to need to handle 80,000,000 by the year 2010. HAS has 3 airports, Bush Intercontinental, Hobby, and Ellington. The latter no longer had scheduled commercial flights, but is busy with government and private aircraft, Vacar said.
HAS has a budget of $400 million per year, which is gained from concessions, parking and airplane landing fees. That money generates about $30 billion in economic activity in the city, according to Vacar.
Expansion at IAH will include two new runways parallel to the current north runways. Long term plans call for improvements at IAH totalling $5 billion, and at Hobby $1.2 billion. At IAH the current 115 gates will increase to 225. Hobby will eventually have 5 runways. Ellington will expand with 3 national guard units moving from the city to the field.
At IAH, the long range Master Plan, through 2025, is looking at new terminal buildings to replace A and B, perhaps as many as 5, in a style similar to Atlanta’s terminals.
Parking is another consideration at the airports, but Vacar said that there are now 20,000 parking spots at IAH, and they generate significant revenue.