HOUSTON, April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today previewed its new Terminal B south concourse at George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Houston Mayor Annise Parker and other area civic and business leaders. The new facility will open to limited flight operations over the next two weeks, with the first 15 gates planned to be fully operational by May 1, 2013. The airline will add 15 more gates by the end of the year. The $97-million south concourse is a new 225,000-square-foot facility dedicated to United Express regional flights. At nearly four times the size of the previous south concourse, the new space will provide a better customer experience, featuring modern and expanded gate-lounge areas, 17 food and beverage and retail concessions and a spacious central passenger lounge with expansive tarmac views. "Bush Intercontinental's extensive connecting traffic makes it a premier international gateway and a key hub in United's network," said Jim Compton, United's vice chairman and chief revenue officer. "We've designed our newest terminal to offer travelers a more customer-friendly airport experience where they can relax in comfort or work with greater ease." "I am proud that the City of Houston and United have continued the decades-long partnership that began with Continental," said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. "This modern and spacious new terminal is a significant investment in the future of George Bush Intercontinental as a major international hub." New Concessions Along with Familiar FavoritesThe new terminal has 15,000 square feet of food and beverage and retail concessions, a 500-percent increase in the concession space over the previous facility. The 17 concessions include two new celebrity-chef venues with local and regional ties, and other first-time dining concessions with Texas roots, as well as several familiar airport favorites. Chef Bryan Caswell's 3 rd Bar Oyster & Eating House and The Fruteria, by Chef Johnny Hernandez, lead the list of dining options, which also includes Texas icon Whataburger; Bullrito's, offering fresh Tex-Mex; and Barcuterie, which will offer cured meats and classic cheeses in an energetic bar setting. Familiar favorites such as Famous Famiglia, Fresh Gourmet Marketplace, Panda Express and Starbucks round out the Terminal B south concourse food and beverage options.