United Opens Expanded and Newly Renovated Global Inflight Training Center in Houston

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$32 million expansion project doubles size of facility and features more classroom and training spaces, cabin and door trainers and a state-of-the-art aquatic center to practice safe evacuation of the plane in unlikely water landings

New facility reflects United's continued investments in infrastructure, technology and tools to support growth – airline on track to hire 15,000 people in 2023, including 4,000 flight attendants

According to a new study, United's IAH hub and spending by foreign visitors to Houston on United and Star Alliance member flights support an estimated $5.3 billion per year in gross domestic product in Texas and in 2022 United's direct employment in Houston contributed $1.2 billion to economic activity

United today opened in Houston its largest Inflight Training Center, a 56,000 sq. ft. facility that includes new classrooms, additional cabin and door trainers and a state-of-the-art aquatic center that features a 125,000-gallon pool and mock fuselage to practice the safe evacuation of the plane in the unlikely event of a water landing. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner joined United CEO Scott Kirby at a ceremonial ribbon cutting event in Houston to officially open the new training center.

The $32 million expansion project more than doubles the available training space and supports the airline's plan to hire and train a total of 15,000 people in 2023, including 4,000 flight attendants.

United plans to train more than 600 flight attendants per month at the newly expanded Houstonfacility and the expansion project is another example of United's focus on long-term investments in infrastructure, tools and technology to support its United Next growth plan as well as the airline's continued commitment to Houston.

“The best flight attendants in the industry deserve the best, most modern training facility in the country,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “This expansion project is yet another example of an investment we made during the depths of the pandemic that will support our employees, further improve our ability to deliver great service and set United up for success in 2023 and beyond.”

New United flight attendants will go through a six-week and a half training course at the Houstonfacility and then return every 18 months to stay current on their qualifications. The campus includes inflight service training spaces with mock seats, a 400+-seat auditorium and a public address room where trainees can practice their onboard announcements. The centerpiece of the building is a new Aquatic Center that includes a 125,000-gallon pool to practicing the safe evacuation of the plane in the unlikely event of a water landing.

As part of the construction of the facility, and in support of Mayor Turner's climate action plan to build local storm-resilient infrastructure, United included an underground prefabricated storm detention vault that can hold more than 268,000 gallons of water and store stormwater runoff in large underground pipes or vaults.

“United continues to be a great partner and business leader in the city of Houston, connecting Houstonians to the world and investing in vital infrastructure projects that help enhance the travel experience for millions of travelers,” said Mayor Turner. “I congratulate United on opening its global Inflight Training Center, a testament to the region's workforce and pro-business environment.”

Commitment to Houston

United has operated for more than 70 years from its hub at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).and is one of the largest employers with over 11,000 local employees and plans to hire 1,800 more in 2023. The airline maintains a corporate office presence downtown and is the leading carrier at George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport (IAH), with about 400 flights per day and more direct flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other airline.

According to a new study by Compass Lexecon, United's IAH hub and spending by foreign visitors to Houston on United and Star Alliance member flights support an estimated $5.3 billion per year in gross domestic product in Texas and in 2022 United's direct employment in Houston contributed $1.2 billion to economic activity. The study also showed that United's Houston hub indirectly supported an additional 56,000 local jobs through airport and supply chain activity.

The airline's ongoing investments and commitments to its Houston operation contribute to the positive, ripple-effect on the broader, local economy:

  • As part of the City of Houston's $1.3 billion Terminal Redevelopment Program (ITRP), United redesigned ticketing counters as well as new pre-check and CLEAR lanes, and state of the art TSA security checkpoint, which has become a model for the continued technological enhancements in the travel journey.
  • United's new Baggage Handling System services Terminals C and E and features state-of-the-art technology, including seven baggage carousels with corresponding high-tech displays, a complete replacement of the old outbound baggage system with a four-loop sorting system, as well as a new Baggage Control Center to monitor and manage the entire baggage handling operation.
  • The airline's Early Baggage System (EBS) facility is under construction, is expected to go online late this year and will be the first of its kind in North America – it temporarily stores bags that arrive early in a separate location until their specific departure. This new facility will allow United the flexibility to use all available gates and enable future growth at the airport.
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United Airlines and United Express operate more than 4,500 flights a day to 339 airports across five continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated more than 1.5 million flights carrying more than 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 720 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 21 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s, as well as six used Airbus A319 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

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