Will Hobby Become an International Airport?

United and Southwest are squabbling over whether Houston Hobby should become an international airport. Which airline will prevail?
Thu April 12, 2012 11:30 pm
AP Photo | Elise Amendola

Southwest would LUV to turn Houston Hobby into an international airport, but United Airlines is none to pleased about the proposal.

On Monday, Mario Diaz, director of the Houston Airport System, threw his weight behind the idea at a press conference, saying it would benefit consumers, the Houston Chronicle’s Kiah Collier and Chris Moran reported. “New international air service at Hobby will create competition in the Houston Latin American market, leading to lower fares and more travel options for Houston passengers,” Diaz said.

The change would create 10,000 jobs and draw an additional 1.5 million travelers and $1.6 billion to Houston, according to two consultants retained by the city. That study also said that one-way fares to Latin America would drop an average of $223 a ticket, with fares to Bogota projected to drop from $739 to $133 and fares to Cancun expected to dip from $207 to $108.

Last week, former Continental CEO Gordon Bethune told the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board he doubted the consultants’ predictions, saying “I think their study says they’re going to Bogota for $130. Somebody’s smoking crack.”

United wants to keep all international flights at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, one of the airline’s

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