Southwest Airlines (Dallas) is celebrating the launch of international flights from the new international terminal at William P. Hobby Airport yesterday (October 15). The airline issued this statement:
Employees of Southwest Airlines (LUV) launched a new international chapter on October 15 in a 45-year history of serving Houston by joining with Houston Airport System and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to open a new five-gate concourse, Federal Inspection Station for Customs and Border Protection, new concessions for travelers, and begin daily international service for travelers using Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport. Southwest’s new nonstop daily service to a total eight international destinations by November charts a new horizon for Houstonians who value world-renowned Customer Service.
At a news conference that began just as Southwest Flight 305 to Cancun departed from one of five gates in the airport’s new west concourse, Southwest’s local Employees and Company Leadership joined many Houstonians who played a role in bringing international service back to William P. Hobby Airport.
In 2012, the Houston City Council overwhelmingly approved Southwest Airlines’ proposal to expand service across borders from William P. Hobby Airport by building the new international concourse and Federal Inspection Station, thus “freeing Hobby” from domestic-only capability and a historically monopolized market long-burdened by high international airfares. Southwest broke ground on the new facility on Sept. 30, 2013, and two years later has completed the $156 million project both on time and under budget. Southwest worked diligently throughout the construction to give opportunity to Small Business Enterprise and Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (SBE / MWBE), and has exceeded City of Houston SBE / MWBE requirements.
International-themed festivities at the airport throughout the day included a chance for travelers in the terminal to win prizes provided by Southwest Vacations. Ceremony surrounded departures to the new destinations, including Belize City, Belize, Southwest’s 96th and newest city served.
Through William P. Hobby Airport, Southwest Airlines began operating twice daily nonstop service to and from Cancun as well as once daily nonstop options between Houston and Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, a total of four cities in Mexico. Nonstop service linking Costa Rica to Houston also began on October 15 with a daily flight to and from the nation’s capital, San Jose, with additional new service to Liberia in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste province, Southwest’s 97th city served, scheduled to begin daily operation November 1, 2015, subject to foreign government approval. That same day, Southwest is scheduled to begin daily nonstop service between Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Houston Hobby.
In addition, seasonal service on Saturdays connects Houston nonstop with San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Oranjestad, Aruba, making a total of ten nonstop routes across Latin America and the Caribbean available to Southwest Customers using Hobby Airport.
Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/Airlinersgallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 N8643A (msn 42524) departs from Boeing Field in Seattle.
Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery):