The door to Mexico — already a prime destination for both George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) — opened a little wider on July 22, 2016, when the United States and Mexico formally exchanged diplomatic notes to bring the new Air Transport Agreement between the two countries into force.
In the most simple of terms, the agreement is expected to boost travel and clear the way for any city to have direct airline service to the neighboring nation. The accord, which modifies a 1960 agreement, removes the limitations on the number of airlines that may provide passenger service between all U.S.-Mexico city pairs. As a result, some city-pair markets may see new carriers — both passenger and cargo carriers — for the first time, and airlines can consider offering new service in destinations that they could have never considered previously.
“Houston already enjoys strong connections with destinations throughout Mexico, and by putting this Agreement into force, the potential to strengthen and expand those connection is now virtually limitless,” said Molly Waits, the Director of Air Service Development for the Houston Airport System. “We commend the U.S. Department of Transportation for its work to reach this key agreement, and we look forward to working with our partners to continue to expand the choices to Mexico for our customers.”
Bush Intercontinental already has the most nonstop connections with Mexico of any U.S. airport, and with the return of international service to Hobby Airport in 2015 — with service by Southwest Airlines to Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and San Jose del Cabo in Mexico — the connection with Houston has grown even stronger.
“This new Air Transport Agreement further elevates and strengthens the dynamic commercial and economic relationship between the United States and Mexico and advances our goal of shared prosperity,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who signed the Agreement with Mexico’s Secretary of Transport Gerardo Ruiz Esparza in December 2015. “This Agreement will allow carriers on both sides of the border to better meet increasing demand in our countries, helping to drive economic growth in sectors beyond aviation, including tourism and manufacturing.”
The opportunities established in the agreement will become available to U.S. and Mexican airlines on August 21, 2016.