Boosted by the continued growth in international passenger numbers — thanks in large part to robust international travel now available at William P. Hobby Airport — the Houston Airport System closed the first quarter of 2016 with passenger numbers ahead of the record-setting pace seen in 2015.
With Hobby Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport combining to serve more than 13 million passengers so far this year, the Airport System is 4.2 percent ahead of 2015’s record-setting pace, when more than 55.1 million passengers were served.
Hobby Airport — which began daily international service to Latin America and the Caribbean in October 2015 — serviced more than 3 million passengers during the first three months of 2016, a 12.5 percent increase over the pace set in 2015 when the airport served a record of more than 12 million passengers overall.
Included in Hobby Airport's 2016 first-quarter total are more than 175,000 international passengers, the direct result of the new $156 million, 5-gate west concourse built in partnership with Southwest Airlines to serve international travel. As well, Hobby served nearly 2.9 million domestic passengers during the first quarter of 2016, a 6.1 percent increase over 2015’s pace.
At its current pace, Hobby Airport — recently awarded a 4-star rating by leading global air transport rating organization Skytrax — would again serve more than 12 million passengers in 2016.
Bush Intercontinental Airport served more than 10 million passengers total during the first quarter of 2016, a 1.9 percent increase over 2015’s pace. Nearly 2.7 million of that total were international passengers, an 8.7 percent increase over the 2015 pace, when the big airport welcomed five new foreign flag carriers and also expanded service to international destinations from existing carriers, leading to a record of more than 10.6 million international passengers overall.
Domestic travel in the first quarter of 2016 at Bush Intercontinental kept pace with 2015’s total, with more than 7.4 million passengers served.