5-star skies

Houston airport lands first coveted 5-star rating in North America

Hobby scored the first 5-star rating in North America. Photo via fly2houston.com

Houston travelers now have new bragging rights. William P. Hobby Airport has just scored a prestigious 5-Star Airport status in the Skytrax World Airport Star Rating for 2022. That makes Hobby the first airport in Texas, the U.S., and North America — and one of just 16 airports across the world to land the 5-star rating.

A little about this ranking: The Skytrax World Airport Star Rating is a global benchmark of quality evaluation for the aviation industry, a press release describes. All airports are rated between a 1-Star and 5-Star level after a detailed audit analysis of facilities and staff service to customers throughout all areas of front-line service.

In the new survey, Hobby soared in all 29 rating categories. The 5-Star Rating international Skytrax rating also highlighted the airport’s “wide range of substantial guest experience upgrades to the terminal interiors, passenger facilities, and customer service initiatives.”

Skytrax lauds recent Hobby improvements such as a new children’s play area, state-of-the-art restroom facilities, modern signage and information systems, a prayer room, and a new stage for live music performances.

Meanwhile, Houston’s other airport, George Bush Intercontinental, maintained its 4-Star rating for a fifth consecutive year, and boosted its score across the rating categories.

Houston Airports notes in a statement that construction continues to advance the international terminal redevelopment program, such as the planned Mickey Leland International Terminal, which aims to create two 5-star Houston airports.

“The entire Houston Airports team has worked tirelessly toward reaching this accomplishment at Hobby Airport,” Houston Airports director of aviation Mario Diaz said in a statement. “Providing the highest quality of customer service, exceptional amenities and cutting-edge facilities has earned us five stars at Hobby Airport and an improved 4-Star rating at Bush Airport, and now we owe it to our passengers to continue delivering excellence at every step of the airport experience.”

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Business and government leaders in the Houston area hope the region can become a hub for CCS activity. Photo via Getty Images

Three big businesses — Air Liquide, BASF, and Shell — have added their firepower to the effort to promote large-scale carbon capture and storage for the Houston area’s industrial ecosystem.

These companies join 11 others that in 2021 threw their support behind the initiative. Participants are evaluating how to use safe carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at Houston-area facilities that provide energy, power generation, and advanced manufacturing for plastics, motor fuels, and packaging.

Other companies backing the CCS project are Calpine, Chevron, Dow, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Linde, LyondellBasell, Marathon Petroleum, NRG Energy, Phillips 66, and Valero.

Business and government leaders in the Houston area hope the region can become a hub for CCS activity.

“Large-scale carbon capture and storage in the Houston region will be a cornerstone for the world’s energy transition, and these companies’ efforts are crucial toward advancing CCS development to achieve broad scale commercial impact,” Charles McConnell, director of University of Houston’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy, says in a news release.

McConnell and others say CCS could help Houston and the rest of the U.S. net-zero goals while generating new jobs and protecting current jobs.

CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide from industrial activities that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and then injecting it into deep underground geologic formations for secure and permanent storage. Carbon dioxide from industrial users in the Houston area could be stored in nearby onshore and offshore storage sites.

An analysis of U.S Department of Energy estimates shows the storage capacity along the Gulf Coast is large enough to store about 500 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to more than 130 years’ worth of industrial and power generation emissions in the United States, based on 2018 data.

“Carbon capture and storage is not a single technology, but rather a series of technologies and scientific breakthroughs that work in concert to achieve a profound outcome, one that will play a significant role in the future of energy and our planet,” says Gretchen Watkins, U.S. president of Shell. “In that spirit, it’s fitting this consortium combines CCS blueprints and ambitions to crystalize Houston’s reputation as the energy capital of the world while contributing to local and U.S. plans to help achieve net-zero emissions.”

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