An overall $470 million investment by Houston Airports will support increased demand and the continued growth of Southwest Airlines.
HOUSTON – Houston City Council unanimously approved the first installment towards a total of $470 million in funding and plans to expand the West Concourse at William P. Hobby Airport. The expansion, which is scheduled to begin in early 2024 and span two years, will include 7 additional gates that can accommodate domestic and international flights; an expanded and renovated baggage handling system and baggage claim area; and an overhead canopy along the departures curb that will protect against inclement weather and connect the Red Garage to the terminal.
In March 2022, in anticipation of increased demand from Southwest passengers, City Council approved Houston Airports to appropriate an initial $20 million of airport funding for the planning and design of the expansion project. Today, Council approved Houston Airports to use $250 million of airport funds to move forward with construction. A supplemental appropriation request of $200 million will be made by Houston Airports to City Council in the next 12 to 15 months, totaling $470 million.
The West Concourse Expansion Project comes less than a decade after Hobby Airport last expanded. In October 2015, Southwest Airlines commenced service from a 280,000 square-foot West Concourse, which includes five gates that can accommodate international and domestic flights; a ticketing hall; a Federal Inspection Services facility; and an expanded TSA checkpoint. The opening of the $156 million West Concourse marked the return of international air service to Hobby Airport after a 46-year hiatus.
Increasing demand from passengers for more air service from Hobby Airport, which is less than 10 miles south of Downtown Houston, is a driving force behind today’s decision by City Council. The expansion of the West Concourse will be a natural continuation of modern design, natural light and “Houston Friendly” ambiance. The expansion creates space for more restaurants, retail and art.
“With business and leisure travel on the rise, this is an exciting time for expansion at one of our major airports. William P. Hobby Airport is the first and only 5-Star Skytrax airport in North America, and passengers deserve a first-class experience,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “As a global city and sought-after destination, we have excelled in attracting new air services. Enhancing our Houston Hobby Airport infrastructure strengthens the backbone of our economic vitality and cultural prosperity. This expansion project symbolizes our commitment to a thriving future.”
NOTABLE WINS FOR HOBBY AIRPORT IN 2023
- The first and only 5-Star Skytrax-rated airport in North America
- Best Regional Airport in North America for two consecutive years
- Most Enjoyable Airport in North America, as voted by surveyed passengers
- World’s Best Airport Arts Program
“Passengers trust that their experience at Hobby will include world-class amenities, ‘Houston friendly’ customer service and a flight schedule reflective of our city’s diverse spirit,” said Mario Diaz, Aviation Director for Houston Airports “It makes sense that passengers desire to board more flights to more destinations from Hobby. Today’s unanimous approval underscores the vital role of Houston Airports in maintaining and building on that positive momentum.”
In 2016, the first full year of international service, Hobby Airport welcomed 801,000 international passengers and 12.1 million domestic travelers.
In 2022, despite forced setbacks from the pandemic, Hobby Airport welcomed more than 913,000 international passengers and more than 12.2 million domestic travelers.
“We appreciate the City of Houston’s longstanding support of Southwest as we continue expanding our service from Hobby Airport,” said Steve Sisneros, Vice President of Airport Affairs for Southwest Airlines. “We look forward to working together with the City and Houston Airports to bring this expansion project to fruition over the next few years.”
Southwest employs more than 5,000 people in Houston, with a majority based at Hobby Airport.
Hobby Airport supports 83 destinations serviced by five passenger airlines: Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier and Southwest. The origin of Hobby Airport dates back to June 1927, when a private airfield called W.T. Carter Field opened in a 600-acre pasture where the airport is now located.