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Hobby Airport Going International - SWA will pay $100M for airport expansion


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I really don't think United has much of an argument here (it'd be different if the corporate HQ was still here). There is nothing they can do to stop Southwest. With the amount of gates and flights that Southwest plans to operate daily, it shouldn't hurt the international businesses at IAH much. With growth in the Houston region, United is still going to have to go through expansion plans at IAH. This will only create cheaper airfare to Latin America and the Caribbean for Houston area travelers. I'm all for it.

If it gets city approval, Southwest says it would spend an estimated $75 million to $100 million to build a new international terminal equipped with full-scale Customs facilities, as well as to improve the aging airport's domestic terminals. Southwest flights would depart from the new terminal to destinations such as Cancun and the Caribbean.

http://www.chron.com...4923.php#page-1

Edited by editor
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Not to mention that it'll be more convenient for central, southeast, south, and southwest Houston. IAH is very far away for these travelers.

I'm all for this.

And anyway, screw United. Their decision to depart Texas while doubling down the value of their hub was an open invitation for the City to screw with them. What are they going to do, dial back service? Move the hub? No. It's a single-hub city and their investment is too large to abandon. They're locked in.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Over 10,000 jobs expected to be added and $1.6B in local economic impact expected:

moo - I seriously doubt these numbers. These are Southwest's projections which should be taken with a grain of salt as much as United's.

I do think it will help - now there will be some price competition on trips to Mexico/Carribbean for United. Houston has some of the highest air fares in the country. This is a start.

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The head of the Houston Airport System has come out in favor of the Southwest proposal for an international terminal at Hobby. United is claiming the analysis is flawed, and that an international terminal at Hoby would cost tons of job losses at IAH. Of course, United would automatically be against anything that might improve competition or better serve the public.

As for me, I'm pretty much in favor of anything that annoys United Airlines.

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Yup - I'm all for it as well...United bailed on Houston when they moved to Chicago after the merger....not mention that United is pretty much the worst airline I have ever flown....I always end up having to fly off peak and at weird times, and whenever the flight is not completely full - they cancel it....I cant tell you how many times they have cancelled a flight I needed to make.

I see no reason that Houston should have any loyalty at all to United.

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some cousins just went to mexico city but decided to drive to san antonio to fly.....flight was 250 from there and 750 from here. the san antonio flight's 2nd leg was through houston. because continental has a monopoly thru here, they are able to get inflated prices. in san antonio, other carriers have direct flights so continental/united was matiching the prices. I say go southwest!

Edited by musicman
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Issue goes to vote on May 16th.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Council-rips-study-painting-Hobby-expansion-as-3486551.php

But it sounds like City Council has been bought off by lobbyists for United

But if the mayor was whom set the quick vote date upcoming, doesn't that possibly mean she is in favor of SWA/Hobby International?

Could set up an interesting clash at City Hall.

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I am all for 2 international airports in Houston. If United picked Houston for its headquarters than I would probably feel differently about it but it didn't so there is no loyalty. Yes they have Houston as its largest hub, but that can change at anytime. Southwest is a Texas company that wants to not only improve travel in the Houston region, but improve Hobby airport as well.

By the way, how many cities/regions in the US/World have more than one international airport. I know the San Fransisco/Bay area has many, Chicago, New York area, LA area, but what other cities?

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Issue goes to vote on May 16th.

http://www.chron.com...-as-3486551.php

But it sounds like City Council has been bought off by lobbyists for United

But if the mayor was whom set the quick vote date upcoming, doesn't that possibly mean she is in favor of SWA/Hobby International?

Could set up an interesting clash at City Hall.

I agree it's depressing to see what's going on in council. Evidently United has supported every one of their campaigns, but not SWA. I heard the Mayor speak at another event, and she sounded in favor of Hobby/SWA.

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Normally the comments on Chron.com are way off base BUT this time they have generally pointed out some reason - why is that City Council is so opposed to having competition? Competition that will wake those slobs at United thus maybe improve quality or at least drop prices by reducing their monopoly.

Living in SoCal I can take advantage of flying out of LAX, LGB and SNA within 30 to 45 minutes drive, which means I can get higher quality and/or lower prices because of COMPETITION. I can get RT ticket to SFA from LGB (5 minute drive from home) for less than $100 or just above up to Seattle! You can dream about that with United, which will probably send you luggage or carry-on items they forced to gate check to the wrong terminal (which happened to my mother when she visited from Houston) or just make the flying experience much worse than it used to be a few years ago.

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some cousins just went to mexico city but decided to drive to san antonio to fly.....flight was 250 from there and 750 from here. the san antonio flight's 2nd leg was through houston. because continental has a monopoly thru here, they are able to get inflated prices. in san antonio, other carriers have direct flights so continental/united was matiching the prices. I say go southwest!

I have relatives that want me to visit them in Mexico City and was waiting b/c the flights are so expensive. Thanks for the tip!

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I remember seeing signage at one time, calling Hobby "Houston International Airport". I'm sure that's been covered over now. Any idea when HOU took on the Hobby name?

Originally named Houston Municipal Airport

Re-named Howard R. Hughes Airport in 1938.

Shortly afterward, the name reverted to Houston Municipal because federal regulations at the time did not allow an airport to be named for a living person.

It was named Houston International Airport in 1950, the same year, I believe that Houston had its first nonstop international service (PanAm to Mexico City)

Re-named William P. Hobby Airport in 1967. Query: Was the name then William P. Hobby International Airport?

Closed in 1969.

Re-opened in 1971.

Edited by Houston19514
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  • 2 weeks later...

Have yall seen United's ad campaign to prevent this? They're advertising on chron.com

http://keepiahstrong.com/

What do you make of some of the quotes they have on their page? Is it too simplistic of an argument to say more competition is better?

Gordon Bethune, Former Continental CEO

"It's going to pop an economic balloon, which has been Houston's economic growth. It's going to split a big city -- six million people -- into two small cities. So we're going to have transportation like Austin." (click for more)

Bill Swelbar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's International Center for Air Transportation

“[R]edundant international service at Hobby would... displace approximately 1,300 IAH employees. This would be direct job loss, and does not take into account the many thousands of indirect jobs and construction jobs... that would be lost.” (click for more)

Kay Kratky, Member, Lufthansa German Airlines Board (Star Alliance member, as is United)

“The strong flow of transfer passengers through IAH to national and international destinations beyond is the key driving factor for our decision to deploy our flagship aircraft to Houston.” (click for more)

Edited by lockmat
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Worst set of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) arguments I have ever seen. A lot of smokescreen and hand waving. Expect a complete blog post response from me soon at Houston Strategies.

In the meantime, I'll keep hammering the same simple argument: JetBlue and Spirit dramatically grew discount intl competition at Ft. Lauderdale, lowering fares and increasing demand, which forced American to nearly double the size of its Miami hub. Everybody is winning except for American's profits.

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Worst set of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) arguments I have ever seen. A lot of smokescreen and hand waving. Expect a complete blog post response from me soon at Houston Strategies.

In the meantime, I'll keep hammering the same simple argument: JetBlue and Spirit dramatically grew discount intl competition at Ft. Lauderdale, lowering fares and increasing demand, which forced American to nearly double the size of its Miami hub. Everybody is winning except for American's profits.

Your first sentence is a PERFECT summary. I expect no better from the current leadership of United, but I'm pretty disappointed in Mr. Bethune.

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This is big news! I would have expected them to be neutral with so much United power among their board and committees. The fact that this resolution still got through speaks to the powerful benefits of competition for the city and the business community.

http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2012/05/greater-houston-partnership-supports-hobby-expansion/

Greater Houston Partnership supports Hobby expansion

The Greater Houston Partnership is backing a plan to expand Hobby Airport that would allow for international flights.

The Partnership’s Business Issues Committee voted unanimously to support the plan to add five gates and a Customs facility to the airport. Southwest Airlines is pushing the plan so it can start flying to Mexico and the Caribbean. The Partnership’s board of directors is expected to adopt a resolution in support of Hobby expansion by the end of next week.

“This is a critically important issue for Houston. We want two vibrant airports and the benefits that go along with it: more jobs, more travelers and a competitive advantage for our city,” said Tony Chase, chairman of the Partnership. United Airlines, which dominates the Latin American market from its base at Bush Intercontinental Airport, has fought the proposal. Company officials and consultants have argued that dividing the city’s international air traffic will cost jobs and routes.

A city consultant’s study concluded that the Hobby plan will create 10,000 jobs and inject $1.6 billion into the local economy.

Having the most prominent voice in the Houston business community behind the Hobby plan is another blow to United, which merged with Houston hometown airline Continental in 2010. In pressing its case, United has been drawing on the good will and trust Continental generated as an active corporate citizen for decades.

The Partnership’s immediate past board chairman is Larry Kellner, who was CEO of Continental from 2004 to 2009. The Partnership’s airports task force is chaired by Michelle Baden, United’s managing director for international and state affairs and a registered lobbyist for the airline at City Hall.

But the Partnership still backed the Southwest position.

“GHP has carefully deliberated on how increased competition changes the landscape within airport systems, having reviewed and analyzed extensive data and listened intently to representatives from the Houston Airport System, city of Houston, United and Southwest,” said Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Partnership. “We intend to keep working with all airlines and parties to protect and grow our region’s airports.”

City Council is scheduled to vote next month on the Hobby expansion plan.

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This is big news! I would have expected them to be neutral with so much United power among their board and committees. The fact that this resolution still got through speaks to the powerful benefits of competition for the city and the business community.

http://blog.chron.co...obby-expansion/

Greater Houston Partnership supports Hobby expansion

The Greater Houston Partnership is backing a plan to expand Hobby Airport that would allow for international flights.

The Partnership’s Business Issues Committee voted unanimously to support the plan to add five gates and a Customs facility to the airport. Southwest Airlines is pushing the plan so it can start flying to Mexico and the Caribbean. The Partnership’s board of directors is expected to adopt a resolution in support of Hobby expansion by the end of next week.

“This is a critically important issue for Houston. We want two vibrant airports and the benefits that go along with it: more jobs, more travelers and a competitive advantage for our city,” said Tony Chase, chairman of the Partnership. United Airlines, which dominates the Latin American market from its base at Bush Intercontinental Airport, has fought the proposal. Company officials and consultants have argued that dividing the city’s international air traffic will cost jobs and routes.

A city consultant’s study concluded that the Hobby plan will create 10,000 jobs and inject $1.6 billion into the local economy.

Having the most prominent voice in the Houston business community behind the Hobby plan is another blow to United, which merged with Houston hometown airline Continental in 2010. In pressing its case, United has been drawing on the good will and trust Continental generated as an active corporate citizen for decades.

The Partnership’s immediate past board chairman is Larry Kellner, who was CEO of Continental from 2004 to 2009. The Partnership’s airports task force is chaired by Michelle Baden, United’s managing director for international and state affairs and a registered lobbyist for the airline at City Hall.

But the Partnership still backed the Southwest position.

“GHP has carefully deliberated on how increased competition changes the landscape within airport systems, having reviewed and analyzed extensive data and listened intently to representatives from the Houston Airport System, city of Houston, United and Southwest,” said Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Partnership. “We intend to keep working with all airlines and parties to protect and grow our region’s airports.”

City Council is scheduled to vote next month on the Hobby expansion plan.

Wow! That is huge! Way to go GHP! I've never been prouder to be a member.

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If Hobby expansion goes through, how will it affect current expansion at IAH? Aren't they currently expanding terminal B?

If anything it will probably accelerate it, based on the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale case study. Competition = lower fares = more demand = more flights.

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This may be stretching it, but with cheaper fares to/from Houston from latin america, will that encourage more latins to move here or will it have no affect?

I don't think it will have any material affect on people moving here, *but* it certainly may increase tourist visitors from Latin America to Houston, boosting our tourism economy.

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It will increase demand overall between the two airports but since United will have to share the market, their share compared to what they are getting now will not actually increase, correct?

And although this will increase demand, aren't airlines barely getting by right now cureent gas prices. If they are forced to cut their prices bc of competition, it will cut into their margins even more. They will probably have to cut more services or do something to offset things, right?

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Gordon's statement is disappointing but also factually incorrect. Splitting the Houston region in two wouldn't create two Austins. Austin doesn't have anywhere close to 3 million people in the metro and it has far fewer people in the airport's catchment area since it bleeds over into San Antonio.

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It will increase demand overall between the two airports but since United will have to share the market, their share compared to what they are getting now will not actually increase, correct?

And although this will increase demand, aren't airlines barely getting by right now cureent gas prices. If they are forced to cut their prices bc of competition, it will cut into their margins even more. They will probably have to cut more services or do something to offset things, right?

Their share will drop, but their total passengers will increase as reduced fares increase demand. It will cut their profit margins, but the flights will still be profitable, so cutting them will just hurt them further. In fact, they will have to add flights to meet the increased demand, so they end up with more flights with lower profit margins per flight.

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Southwest’s plan would create Houston competition for some flights to Latin America, the region where United posts its highest yields, or average fare per mile, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Latin America produced a bigger gain in first-quarter yields than routes in the U.S. or across the Atlantic and Pacific, United said.

Greater access to Latin America would draw more visitors, said consultant McGinnis. “Latin America is growing and needs more lift, and to do that you need to expand facilities that will also attract more Latin carriers to Houston.”

Houston’s population also is shifting, with the share of Latino residents more than doubling to 41 percent since 1980, Klineberg said.

“This is a city of immigrants, an international city,” Klineberg said. “Passengers want to go toMexico City as much as they want to go to places like Dallas. What Southwest wants to do would establish Hobby as a real player and not just the little baby brother of the big guy.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-03/united-fights-southwest-in-texas-to-keep-grip-on-busy-hub.html

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So it's interesting that this heating up and going the logical course so far - people wanting more competition, better quality or at least cheaper despite the United scare tactics. On the way to work yesterday I heard that LAX was rated the worst airport in the nation, which after the hellish experience on 3 out of 6 flights last year, I have avoided like the plague and am glad I have many other options that allow me to get cheaper and better quality airport service.

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I hope that the previous posters are right about this becoming a Miami situation where United actually grows the IAH hub instead of downsizing it. While I'm in favor of international at Hobby bringing more flights and lower fares, if these threats by United/Lufthansa/etc actually come true, and they do cut many of our international routes, not bring the A380 here, and cause more job loss, then I'm not sure that a few extra flights to Mexico/Central America from Hobby are worth it. Hopefully they are just threats with no backbone that will disappear once Southwest does get these flights (and I think they will). Both sides' arguments are ridiculously exaggerated, which is to be expected, but really, 5 international gates at Hobby are going to bring 10000 jobs to Houston? I do agree with United on one thing, which was their initial point to make it sound like this wasn't about increased competition: the customs/immigration lines at IAH can get extremely long, and if international at Hobby does siphon away some of those agents, the waits will be out of control. Hopefully they add some staff at IAH in addition to HOU, then there shouldn't be any problem from the traveler's point of view.

Edited by asubrt
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Carriers won't cut any flights until they see that they are no longer profitable. For them to suggest that they would do that in response to Hobby getting international capabilities is to scare people in the herd to try and create a frenzy of opposition to push their councilperson to vote their way.

Does the US government only assign a specific number of customs agents per city? I'd imagine that's not exactly how it works...

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The study United commissioned is finally available.

Some of the main points not already hashed by the media -

  • United has added more flts to IAH than any of its other hubs since the merger and IAH has grown more since 1996 alone than Hobby has in total current flying.
  • The comparison to the MIA/FLL situation is invalid because it neglects the fact that AA dismantled its San Juan hub during the same period to increase MIA, and that AA Latin traffic is actually down overall from where it was.
  • The comparison to ORD/MDW is also invalid since it ignores that Mexicana ceased operation in this period, that carriers were only backfilling, and total Latin traffic is actually down.
  • Comparison of multi-international airport cities in both Europe and the US show that multi-international airport cities have seen no growth or actually shrunk, while single international airport cities have seen growth.
  • United would pull 6% of current capacity and 4% of planned capacity as a result of loss of connecting traffic to support routes that Houston O&D doesn't warrant and/or are already unprofitable but supported by overall network. Future planned routes that would not be flown include Asia/Pacific, Transatlantic, and South America. Auckland and China are specifically cited as examples of routes that cannot be supported by Houston O&D alone, and would be harmed by shifting connecitng traffic on network supporting flights.

Other details include refutations of fare assumptions and traffic stimulation.

link:

http://keepiahstrong.com/docs/UnitedStudyMay3.pdf

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The study United commissioned is finally available.

Some of the main points not already hashed by the media -

  • United has added more flts to IAH than any of its other hubs since the merger and IAH has grown more since 1996 alone than Hobby has in total current flying.
  • The comparison to the MIA/FLL situation is invalid because it neglects the fact that AA dismantled its San Juan hub during the same period to increase MIA, and that AA Latin traffic is actually down overall from where it was.
  • The comparison to ORD/MDW is also invalid since it ignores that Mexicana ceased operation in this period, that carriers were only backfilling, and total Latin traffic is actually down.
  • Comparison of multi-international airport cities in both Europe and the US show that multi-international airport cities have seen no growth or actually shrunk, while single international airport cities have seen growth.
  • United would pull 6% of current capacity and 4% of planned capacity as a result of loss of connecting traffic to support routes that Houston O&D doesn't warrant and/or are already unprofitable but supported by overall network. Future planned routes that would not be flown include Asia/Pacific, Transatlantic, and South America. Auckland and China are specifically cited as examples of routes that cannot be supported by Houston O&D alone, and would be harmed by shifting connecitng traffic on network supporting flights.

Other details include refutations of fare assumptions and traffic stimulation.

link:

http://keepiahstrong...edStudyMay3.pdf

After a quick 5 minutes of perusing the document, a couple of initial thoughts.

1. With regard to connecting traffic (such as traffic between Baltimore and Mexico City they discuss in an example on P. 15. United needs to realize, they will have that competition with Southwest no matter what happens with the HOU decision. Therefore, it is essentially irrelevant to the decision. Face it, United, Southwest is going to service these Latin American markets. If they don't service them from HOU, they will service them from ATL, AUS, Orlando, who knows? But passengers from Baltimore and everywhere else on Southwest's system will be able to fly Southwest to the new Latin American destinations. It will not matter to them whether the connection is through ATL or HOU. That competition will have almost exactly the same effect on United's connecting traffic development through IAH whether the Southwest flights are connecting in HOU or in ATL or in AUS. Hey, United! We deregulated airlines in 1978! Time to get used to it.

2. On page 1 they proudly proclaim that "Since the 2010 merger with Continental, United has added 12 new nonstop routes from IAH, more than it has added from any other hub and the same number it has added at Newark Liberty (EWR), Denver International Airport (DEN) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD) combined. Then on page 10 (Exhibit 6) they have a chart that shows that, yes, they added 12 new non-stop routes at IAH. And it shows they added 8 new nonstop routes at EWR, 5 at DEN, and 3 at ORD. Hmmm... where I learned math, that adds up to 16. So . . . at the new United, 12 = 16! Kinda makes their snearing attitude towards the HAS study statistics a little hard to take.

The vast bulk of their study is about how they cannot afford to have to compete with Southwest on these flights to Latin America. It has nothing to do with opening up HOU for international service. Their arguments regarding the degradation of their network would apply just as strongly if Southwest was proposing to move their entire operation to IAH and start international service from there. (I know it is not possible. But I would LOVE to see Southwest call United's bluff and announce a wholesale move to IAH and ask for a new FIS at Terminal A to accommodate international arrivals. Just imagine the high comedy of watching United come up with new arguments!)

And fwiw, I am not even a fan of Southwest. I prefer to avoid them. I have been a Platinum OnePass card holder with Continental for years and am now whatever United calls the comparable level. I just prefer to let markets, and not governments, choose winners and losers.

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got this from Ellen Cohen---

soooooooooooooooooooooo now the opportunity to go and express your opinion. . . . . . . .

Dear Friend,

The City of Houston is currently considering a proposal that would add international service to Hobby Airport. Southwest Airlines and United Airlines are both major stakeholders in the decision, but they are not in agreement regarding the expansion. Whatever is ultimately decided could have a major impact on our City.

Public meetings are scheduled through the next several weeks so that the City can share information on this issue and solicit feedback from the community. Please don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about the Hobby expansion and to weigh in on the proposal at one of the following upcoming meetings:

City Council Chambers

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

9:00 a.m.

(MAP)

  • Presentations by HAS consultants, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines
  • Public Comment

Doubletree Hotel JFK

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

15747 JFK Boulevard

Houston, TX 77032

(MAP)

  • Presentation by Aviation Director Mario Diaz
  • Public Comment

Marriott Houston South at Hobby Airport

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

9100 Gulf Freeway

Houston, TX 77017

(MAP)

  • Presentation by Aviation Director Mario Diaz
  • Public Comment

Sincerely,

Ellen Cohen

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Funny thing about "studies". They always seem to favor the group that hires them. I wonder why that is?

Clearly true for the United study, but to clarify, the original study showing large benefits for Hobby internationalization was commissioned by the Houston Airport System with independent consultants completely unaffiliated with Southwest.

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CNN/Fortune has a good article on the subject. Their premise is United moving it's headquarters to Chicago is biting them in the butt b/c now they have lost their political clout.

I don't like this, could mean a farther drive to an airport for me:

This would, invariably, force Continental to lower prices on competing routes or to even pull out of some them completely if Southwest is able to put enough pressure on its margins.

Wow

Southwest could target 85% of United's international routes out of Houston if the city signs off on the expansion at Hobby.

Yikes

United says that a Southwest expansion could force it to lay off hundreds of workers and could force it to end its support for the $1 billion expansion at Intercontinental that is already underway. The airline would also discontinue plans to introduce air service to four new international destinations and would not add to additional frequencies in existing markets in Houston over the next three years, a United spokesperson told Fortune.

http://features.blog...thwest-houston/

Are GHP leaders' pockets getting any deeper in this?

Edited by lockmat
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CNN/Fortune has a good article on the subject. Their premise is United moving it's headquarters to Chicago is biting them in the butt b/c now they have lost their political clout.

I don't like this, could mean a farther drive to an airport for me:

Are GHP leaders' pockets getting any deeper in this?

It's a stretch to believe that the GHP is being bribed. Given how ridiculous United's study was, I'm inclined to doubt any threat that they may make.

I'd be interested to see a copy of the agreement between United and the Houston Airport System regarding the terminal expansion. There is hopefully a clause that would address the penalties for one party or the other abandoning the project mid-way through.

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It will increase demand overall between the two airports but since United will have to share the market, their share compared to what they are getting now will not actually increase, correct?

And although this will increase demand, aren't airlines barely getting by right now cureent gas prices. If they are forced to cut their prices bc of competition, it will cut into their margins even more. They will probably have to cut more services or do something to offset things, right?

I've seen several articles mentioning that Houston has the highest average air fares in the nation for the last several years. And since Continental/United owns 80% or so of IAH flights - this has to be one of their most profitable hubs. If they are forced to cut prices - they will still run the planes because they will still be profitable - just not as profitable as before. Basically Houston has been subsidizing flights in other places. IAH might lose some puddle-jumper flights - like to Shreveport, Corpus Christi, etc. but basically United is crying because their gravy train in Houston is threatened.

And they know they have no one to blame but themselves.

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I wonder what those 4 additional international destinations are? One is Auckland presumably, but I haven't heard any others seriously mentioned. I guess smart money would be on Santiago, Munich, and Beijing/Shanghai, or maybe somewhere in the Dominican Republic/Caribbean.

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Blog post is up

Debunking United's anti-Hobby arguments

http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2012/05/debunking-uniteds-anti-hobby-arguments.html

At the end of the day, every argument United is making against international service at Hobby could also be made against domestic service at Hobby ("it weakens IAH", "it drains traffic to support our routes", etc.), but nobody in this city (excluding United employees) would think we were better off if we closed down Hobby and eliminated the Southwest competition. When seen through this lense, all of United's arguments crumble.

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I have watched most of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs session the other day. One thing United reps said diverting international travel from IAH to Hobby would do is force some Greenspoint/north side area business to relocate. What a joke! Have they heard of the Energy Corridor, the Galleria and Westchase district?

A couple of the council members also confronted them that Houston residents pay more for one way flights to locations than places like Chicago, San Antonio, Austin etc pay for initiating their flights in those cities and using Houston as a layover and still being substantially lower than Houston.

United also said that usually a flight's profitability comes down to two or three seats. That has to be a lie.

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I went to the public hearing last night. I left after about 1/2 hour because it was just a stream of United employees parotting the lies and nonsense pumped out by their management. Felt sorry for the city council members who had to continue to sit through that nonsense for another 1 1/2 hours.

There was one slightly amusing moment. The first speaker was a 20-year United pilot. When they cut him off at the end of his 2 minute allotted time, he stood there and glared at them as if to demand they allow him to finish his pointless rant. They didn't. Pilots aren't used to being told no. ;-)

Edited by Houston19514
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