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Houston’s Hobby Airport Unveils Expansion Plan

Crowds at Hobby Airport. (Photo: Houston Airports)

Houston’s City Council just unanimously approved a large appropriation of $250 million for William P. Hobby Airport to build more gates in the West Concourse and modernize the baggage experience for passengers as demand at the airport continues to soar.

This comes after an initial $20 million that was made available to the airport in March 2022 to develop plans for the expansion project in anticipation of increased demand from the airport’s main operator, Southwest Airlines.

The $250 million in funding will allow the airport to move forward with these expansion plans. It is expected construction will begin in early 2024 and it will take approximately two years to complete the expansion.

New additions to the airport include:

  • Seven additional gates that can accommodate domestic and international flights
  • Expanded and renovated baggage handling system
  • Updates to the baggage claim area
  • Overhead canopy along the departures curb which will protect against weather and serve as a connection between the Red Garage and the main terminal

The remaining $200 million in funding will be made available to the airport within the next 12 to 15 months to complete construction.

Airport’s Continued Growth

The airport has seen significant growth over the years.  Just last year in 2022, the airport served over 13 million passengers, 12.2 million domestic passengers and 913,000 international passengers. These numbers are expected to continue to grow as Houston continues to be a destination for passengers across the world.

The local government considers regular investments in the airport as a way to strengthen the value proposition of the city and surrounding metro areas. This airport is located 10 miles away from downtown Houston.

The expansion of the West Concourse comes less than a decade after the last expansion when the concourse was first opened for use. The West Concourse opened in 2015 with five gates for international and domestic flights, a ticketing hall, a Federal Inspection Services facility and an expanded TSA security checkpoint. The opening of the new concourse also marked the return of international air service to the airport, after a 46-year hiatus with Southwest Airlines launching service to Mexico, Central America and South America.

When finished, the West Concourse will have more than double the number of gates available giving the airport’s largest operator Southwest Airlines six of the seven new gates.

While Southwest Airlines does control over 90 percent of the passengers flowing through the airport, other carriers such as Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Frontier all offer flights to the airport.

Notably, JSX operates at the airport as well with its “hop-on jet service” offering convenient flights to Dallas Love Field year-round and Destin, Florida’s Executive Airport on a seasonal basis.

Hemal Gosai

Author

  • Hemal Gosai

    Hemal took his first flight at four years old and has been an avgeek since then. When he isn't working as an analyst he's frequently found outside watching planes fly overhead or flying in them. His favorite plane is the 747-8i which Lufthansa thankfully flies to EWR allowing for some great spotting. He firmly believes that the best way to fly between JFK and BOS is via DFW and is always willing to go for that extra elite qualifying mile.

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