HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It was 50 years ago that Houston Intercontinental Airport welcomed the first official commercial flight to the new airport in Houston. The airport wasn't renamed George Bush Intercontinental Airport until 1997.
In 1969, just before midnight, a Texas International DC-9 was piloted by TI Vice President A.J. High and carried Houston city leaders and dignitaries, took off from Hobby International Airport. The aircraft took an aerial tour of the city, and later touched down shortly after midnight at Houston Intercontinental Airport.
Texas International won the drawing to determine which airline would make that first official landing at the new airport.
"It was 50 years ago that we first learned dreams are more than notions and wishes. That with hard work and dedication, you can go anywhere. Even the moon," said Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz. "And, appropriately enough, in that same time frame 50 years ago when man first set foot on the moon, another dream was realized when Houston Intercontinental Airport opened, strengthening our city's status on the international stage."
That first official flight took place nearly a week after an open house at the new airport on June 1 and June 2, 1969. Thousands toured the new two-terminal facility. The event was highlighted with flights by the Blue Angels and the Goodyear Blimp.
The formal dedication ceremony was held on June 2, 1969, and among the dignitaries attending was George H.W. Bush, then a young U.S. Representative.
The Houston Airport System celebrated the 50th anniversary in March.
Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport celebrates anniversary of their first flight in 1969