The new international terminal at Hobby Airport is expected to be completed in October, and with it comes an influx of new revenue for the airport system and the city.
The five-gate, $156 million project from Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) would be the catalyst for 10,000 jobs and could pump more than $1 billion into the local economy. In addition, the new terminal further solidifies Houston as a hub for travelers on their way to Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean, said Jesus Saenz, deputy general manager for the Houston Airport System.
For Hobby Airport, the new terminal represents a maturation of its current flight offerings, and, going forward, the new international terminal could help the airport grow.
“(Hobby’s growth) is going to be really dependent on the other entrants that want to come into Hobby and utilize it as an airport for departure and arrival into Latin America and the Caribbean,” Saenz said. “As we get closer to opening day, which is Oct. 15, I think we’ll hear at some point from some other airlines that will show interest.”
Saenz did allude to at least one other airline interested in international flights in and out of Hobby Airport, but because the deal was not finalized, he did not disclose which one.
And going forward, Hobby Airport and the Houston Airport System have their sights on potential expansion of the international terminal. The new terminal was designed with room to expand it to a total of 12 gates. No timeline has been set for that expansion, Saenz said, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not on the minds of airport officials.
“When you walk through that terminal and you look at the wall (at the end of the new terminal), it was purposefully made for expansion for seven additional gates,” Saenz said.