October 15, 2016 marked the one year anniversary of the opening of the international concourse at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU).
The $156 million international concourse already has earned accolades from industry leaders and, more importantly, customers. The new terminal facility includes a five-gate concourse, Federal Inspection Station, Southwest Airlines ticketing hall and expanded security checkpoint.
The new, modern concourse boasts “swing gates” — which can accommodate both international and domestic travelers — an expansive ticketing area equipped with self-tagging kiosks to speed up the check-in process, abundant seating in the gate areas that feature seats with electric outlets for charging phones and personal devices, and modern customs facilities that include 14 Automated Passport Control and six Global Entry kiosks to streamline U.S. Customs and Border Protection screening and baggage processing for arriving international passengers.
Southwest Airlines offers nonstop service to 9 international destinations across Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. The airline recently announced plans to add a route between Houston and Mexico City beginning Jan. 5, 2017.
Even prior to the arrival of international air service, Hobby Airport was experiencing unprecedented growth in recent years and saw a record 12.1 million passengers in 2015. Last year marked the fifth consecutive year that an all-time record was set in regards to passenger totals, with Southwest Airlines accounting for the overwhelming majority of that traffic. Over the past 10 years, Hobby Airport has seen a 44 percent increase in its total number of passengers, while the number of cities available via nonstop flights has increased by more than 50 percent, climbing to more than 50 total destinations. The addition of international air service from Southwest Airlines will take that tally well above the 60 city mark.
In addition, the City of Houston and Houston Airports invested $100 million complement the project including a new parking garage providing 3,000 new spaces for travelers. The $55 million, 1 million-square-foot new parking facility — coupled with improvements made to the existing terminal parking garage and expansion of the ecopark lot — brings the total parking capacity at Hobby Airport up to more than 7,200. The new garage features new signage with integrated car counts that enable drivers to know how many spaces are available in a given direction, and is directly connected to the new ticket lobby by a climate-controlled pedestrian bridge that offers safe access and shelter from the elements.
Hobby Airport was named a “4-Star airport” by Skytrax, a leading global air transport rating organization. Hobby is just one of three airport in the nation with the 4-star rating.