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Old 04-10-2012, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
572 posts, read 705,140 times
Reputation: 288
Default Houston, we have a problem: Weigh in on Houston's air war

So, if you don't live in Houston then you probably haven't heard of what some are dubbing the air war.

Like most major cities, Houston has two airports:

Bush Intercontinental which is our main international airport that acts as United's largest hub. It also plays host to all major American and international carriers (i.e British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, Air Canada, Qatar Airways, etc., etc.).

Hobby Airport is Houston's smaller airport. Hobby was Houston's first airport (and by default its first international airport until Bush was built). Today, Hobby plays host to many smaller carriers such as JetBlue, Southwest, AirTran, Frontier and many United, American and Delta national/regional flights (think ExpressJet).

Well, in the past few weeks Southwest has approached Houston city leaders with a proposal to begin construction on an international terminal at Hobby. The terminal would be one of the first in the country to host Southwest's first international flights. These flights would mainly service central and northern south american vacations destinations (I think the farthest south they would go is Caracas Venezuela). Southwest has claimed that having Hobby return to international service would be good for competition. It would bring more jobs to the city, increase the level of visitors to the city AND would equalize prices in the market for flights to Latin America.

When United (which merged with Houston's hometown airline Continental last year) got wind of this, to say they were unhappy is an understatement. For the past few weeks, United has been lobbying city leaders to NOT grant approval of Southwest's proposal. United has claimed that building another international terminal at Hobby would syphon TSA customs agents away from Bush and would cause customs lines at Bush to increase in length. In addition, United, which has just broken ground on a very large expansion at Bush, claims that such expansion may be jeopardized. It also fears that Southwest international flights would cause it to rethink many direct flights to Latin American markets that it currently flies out of Houston.

Obviously, more people than just Houstonians use our airports. Both Bush and Hobby aren't the greatest airports in the country but their not the worst either. They're sufficient at performing their duties. That said, I want to know what other people - out of city AND out of state - think about this? Today, the Houston Airport System director announced his support for Southwest.

Some questions/food for thought:

1.)If your hometown were in Houston's predicament, what would be your position?

2.)Do you currently live in a city with two international airports? Has it always been that way or did one go from domestic to international service? If one went from domestic to international, were you living there during the transition? What has the airline market in the city been like since?

In general, as a traveling American, how do you feel about this proposal since it does have the potential to effect your travel to Houston (and the region)...especially if you fly United and Southwest.

All in all, public sentiment (in Houston at least) tends to be backing Southwest. If Hobby were to become Hobby International, then Houston would be added to a very short list of American cities with two international airports.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-te...at-3469290.php
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,516 posts, read 15,802,120 times
Reputation: 7261
Combined Statistical Areas with more than One International Airport:

New York:
JFK
LaGuardia
Newark Liberty

Los Angeles
Ontario INT
LAX

Chicago:
Midway
O'hare

Houston
Intercontinental
Hobby*

Miami
Miami International
Fort Lauderdale- Hollywood

Orlando
Orlanbdo INT
Sanford

DC/ Balt
Dulles
Ronald Regan
Thurgood Marshall

San Jose, SF, Oakland
San Francisco INT
Oakland
San Jose


Did I miss any??? I think NY is the only CITY that currently has more than one International Airport in its city limits. Both Hobby and IAH (Ellington International Airport too) are within Houston's City limits.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
572 posts, read 705,140 times
Reputation: 288
That looks about right. Looking at the list - I can see some credence to United's arguments (or at least why some people would support United). All of those cities are major tourist destinations (and in some cases of economic and/or political importance). About the only one that's comparable to Houston on the list is Chicago.

I still support SWA. I think more competition here would be good and it would definitely help w/ airfares.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,516 posts, read 15,802,120 times
Reputation: 7261
Quote:
Originally Posted by vertigo5110 View Post
That looks about right. Looking at the list - I can see some credence to United's arguments (or at least why some people would support United). All of those cities are major tourist destinations (and in some cases of economic and/or political importance). About the only one that's comparable to Houston on the list is Chicago.

I still support SWA. I think more competition here would be good and it would definitely help w/ airfares.
SW wants to add Latin american flights. That is a Market that can be served well in Houston, it is not like the others at all.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:52 PM
 
Location: Greater Houston
3,030 posts, read 5,627,023 times
Reputation: 900
It might be better to close Hobby and move the operations to the new Dr. Donald Hull--Fort Bend County International Airport in Sugar Land.

Southwest could build-to-suit at the new Hull International Airport instead of being constrained by the existing layout at Hobby. The airport would also be closer to potential customers who live along the Harris-Fort Bend County line and Houston would finally have an airport that serves the southern half. (Southwest Houston is the densest part of Texas.)
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:53 PM
 
Location: London, U.K.
883 posts, read 700,543 times
Reputation: 762
Logistically this will spur an intense rivalry with Atlanta and Dallas only having 1 international airport versus Houston's 2. Houston is investing in a less congested with more options type system and Atlanta and Dallas have all their eggs in 1 basket.

Houston is getting to the cusp of establishing itself as a logistical and cultural destination like Miami. Kudos
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:23 PM
 
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,125 posts, read 21,202,120 times
Reputation: 4706
Generally speaking, this is a topic about what's going on in Houston, not a city-vs-city specific topic (see the room sticky please in city-vs-city). Moving to the Houston room for further discussion.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:52 PM
 
2 posts, read 1,660 times
Reputation: 17
It's pretty simple really when you get all the self-serving BS out of the air--do we live in a capitalist society of free enterprise or does the government dictate who can have the advantage? The last time I checked all the legacy airlines had folded or declared bankruptcy--without exception--so I don't think they should decide what is best for the flying public.

On top of this, to hell with United--they deserted us and are now trying to blackmail Houston by saying that they might have second thoughts about Terminal B.

I go out of my way not to fly United and to take SW whenever possible. If United ever left Houston I imagine SW would be glad to take over their routes and provide 100% better service.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:14 AM
 
617 posts, read 1,137,358 times
Reputation: 373
Can't say it would hurt Houston to have two international airports and invites competition.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
443 posts, read 771,544 times
Reputation: 571
This "argument" has to be one of the most idiotic in a long time. As Htownlove points out, many US cities, some larger and some smaller than Htown, do just fine with 2 or more international airports. United is just a crybaby and knows that this will lead to lower fares for them. Hobby's potential foray into international travel is a GREAT thing for the City of Houston its residents and visitors!
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