Two United Airlines Boeing 777-300s were scheduled to fly from Chicago O’Hare to Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on Aug. 29 with crew on board to “help take planes out of IAH and reposition those flights to other airports,” according to a company spokesman Charles Hobart.
Although both Houston airports—IAH and Houston Hobby (HOU)—are closed for commercial operations until further notice due to Hurricane Harvey, the FAA is allowing United to reposition flights.
The carrier operates two hangars at IAH for base maintenance—including aircraft check lines and full support shops—and one hangar at HOU that includes a check line and some support shops. The airline employs more than 1,600 people in Housto, with about 1,000 at the IAH line maintenance station.
In addition to the two 777s moved on Tuesday, “we operated four widebody flights into IAH, between Sunday, Aug. 27 and Monday, Aug. 28, to bring in critical relief supplies,” Hobart says.
To help raise funds for Texas communities affected by Hurricane Harvey, the carrier teamed with disaster relief organizations and is donating up to 3 million bonus miles and matched $200,000 raised through the airline’s crowdrise page on its website. As of this writing, about $1.2 million has been raised.