San Pedro: Airports

HOUSTON, Texas – Houston we have a problem.

Or should I say Houston, I almost had a problem with my connecting flight United Airways Flight No. 298 at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston (IAH). Since the departure of United Flight No. 1194 from Las Vegas was delayed for 30 minutes, I almost didn’t get through United Flight No. 298 that will connect me to my final destination -- Tampa/St.Petersburg.

Upon arrival at Houston’s IAH, a United Airlines agent directed me to rush further down Gate C33 where United workers had been making last calls for the Tampa flight. I boarded the Tampa flight in the nick of time.

The IAH which is operated by the Houston Airport System serves the areas of Houston, Woodlands and Sugar Land metropolitan area, the fifth largest metropolitan area in the US. Located about 16 kilometers north of downtown Houston, between Interstate 45 and US Highway 59, the airport is named after the 41st President of the United States – George W. Bush.

The IAH currently serves over 43 million passengers per year making it the tenth busiest for total passengers in North America. IAH is the largest hub for United Airlines with an average of 600 departures per day.

I was amazed by the developments of regional airports within the continental US and the safety measures they had undertaken to prevent a recurrence of terrorist attacks. At the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, the TSA checks on each passenger carefully before they could board the aircraft. The McCarran still have the slot machines inside the airport, put in the gaming tables inside and it will feature a full gaming house.

The monorails connect passengers to and from the gates or the baggage claim area. Upon arrival at Tampa, the monorail is also being extensive utilized. The Tampa airport, which is final entry of most Filipino-Americans in Florida, is also being currently being spruced up. These US airports are like malls, the epicenter of growth in each state. Perhaps, we should invite more concessionaires at Clark airport to help us develop a mall-like experience that will both serve passengers and well-wishers inside the airport.

Last week, the World Routes 2013 concluded a four-day summit with renewed optimism that it would benefit both airport and airline operators. At the sidelines of the World Routes 2013, I had the chance to meet top executives of the Emirates Airlines who had expressed high hopes for the Clark route.

Clark airport execs led by President and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano together with VP for Commercial and Business Development Group Darwin Cunanan drumbeat for the development of new routes to and from the Clark airport. We can only hope for the best.


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