Sky Talk

No. 6 Southwest Airlines opens new international terminal at Houston Hobby

Southwest Airlines launched international flights out of its new terminal at Houston Hobby airport in October.

The $146 million five-gate terminal included a new customs facility and as part of its deal with the city, Southwest controls four of the five gates at the concourse, although it is allowed to use the fifth gate if no other airline is using it.

“If we fill up the five-gate terminal there is absolutely interest with the current Houston leadership that we could expand this terminal further,” said Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly when the terminal opened. “It could at least double, maybe more.”

Southwest now has nonstop flights from Houston to Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, San Jose and Liberia, Costa Rica and Belize City, Belize and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Since Dallas Love Field is not allowed to have international service per the Wright Amendment Compromise agreement, Southwest customers who want to fly to Mexico and the Caribbean from Dallas will have to stop in Houston first.

The city of Houston expects the new five-gate international concourse to bring in 778,835 passengers annually for the first three years and then 1.3 million annually after 2018.