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William P. Hobby Airport


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It's a great airline with an even better livery. Love the "whole different animal" tagline.

That said, I am sad to see them leave IAH and I find it VERY interesting that they decided to move to Hobby to take on Southwest head-on. Southwest has made a major move and expansion into Denver, which is Frontier's home base. Frontier had a niche market at IAH as one of the few lower fare airlines and they were a great alternative to Continental's outrageous walkup fares on that route. Now, they'll move to Hobby and join other lower cost carriers like Southwest, Air Tran, and Jet Blue.

I think the move occurred because Frontier couldn't compete with recently merged United/Continental on a hub-hub routing. They shouldn't have trouble competing with Southwest as DEN is not a hub for Southwest. They compete with Southwest in a similar fashion at Chicago Midway.

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DEN is very much a hub for Southwest. Don't let the Southwest lingo fool you about them not having "hubs." Southwest has expanded DEN like wildfire. In fact, I am pretty certain Southwest offers more flights now at DEN than they do at Hobby. Southwest has declared a fare war at DEN against United (hub) and Frontier (hub) and increased service like mad on routes that are highly competitive.

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DEN is very much a hub for Southwest. Don't let the Southwest lingo fool you about them not having "hubs." Southwest has expanded DEN like wildfire. In fact, I am pretty certain Southwest offers more flights now at DEN than they do at Hobby. Southwest has declared a fare war at DEN against United (hub) and Frontier (hub) and increased service like mad on routes that are highly competitive.

MDW is a quasi hub for Southwest as well, yet Frontier is flying there from DEN. They don't want to put up direction competition with United on too many fronts, and IAH is becoming United's newest hub. If United wasn't a problem, they'd stay at IAH and choose ORD instead of MDW.

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In Denver, only United and Frontier can connect passengers to the smaller Rocky Mountain destinations, including the ski resorts. SWA only connects to the big cities further west. So I'm guessing Frontier wants to differentiate itself from United/Continental by leaving from Hobby, which is certainly more attractive to south Houston/Ft.Bend/Brazoria/Clear Lake/Galveston.

Frontier route map: http://www.frontierairlines.com/frontier/plan-book/routes-timetables/route-map.do

SWA route map: http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/routemap_dyn.html?src=et042004

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was piddling around on wikipedia earlier today and came across some information stating that Frontier Airlines is to cancel service to Houston beginning in November. Did any of you guys hear this?

Edited by JLWM8609
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  • 2 months later...

Excellent photos by all in this thread.

I flew in to HOU on gloomy and cloudy days this year. The pilot kept swaying the plane right and left on the most recent flight so it got very quiet inside. I'll have to take photos the next time.

LoneStarMike, what camera did you use and what airline had windows so clean you can't tell they are there in photos?

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Excellent photos by all in this thread.

I flew in to HOU on gloomy and cloudy days this year. The pilot kept swaying the plane right and left on the most recent flight so it got very quiet inside. I'll have to take photos the next time.

LoneStarMike, what camera did you use and what airline had windows so clean you can't tell they are there in photos?

Im not much of a pilot but why would he say the plane?

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  • 8 months later...

Good pictures.. Some of those are real good for looking through an aircraft window.

I notice Southwest Maryland One parked in that "taking off for Austin" picture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6kGMYtkdVg

I snap a few of them when I'm in the neighborhood. I'll usually sit behind the fence

near Telephone and catch them going into 12R.

Shamu..

h1.jpg

Spirit of Kittyhawk

h5.jpg

Regular ole 737-700

h37.jpg

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  • 7 months later...

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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