Houston Airports Opens Door to Southwest Airlines’ Service Expansion in Houston

Southwest Airlines will continue operations at Hobby Airport while expanding its service offerings out of Bush Airport in the first half of 2021. 

October 12, 2020

HOUSTON  – Houston Airports has opened the door for Southwest Airlines to expand its service to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in the first half of 2021. The new airline expansion will complement Southwest Airlines’ substantial operation at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU).  

“Houston Airports supports and applauds this decision by Southwest Airlines to grow air service offerings in Houston during a time when air carriers are doing what they can to recover from the effects of the pandemic and once again reach a point of profitability," Houston Airports Director of Aviation Mario Diaz said. “Southwest Airlines will continue its exceptional service and operations out of HOU, and its new service out of IAH will only complement its current offerings.” 

Southwest Airlines has a long history with IAH. Intercontinental served as one of three airports where Southwest operated on its first day in operation, June 18, 1971. The carrier moved to Hobby Airport shortly thereafter, though it operated service from both airports between 1980 and 2005. Southwest remains a key employer in the City of Houston, providing nearly 4,000 jobs. 

"Southwest owes decades of success to our Employees and Customers who have supported our business in Chicago and Houston," said Gary Kelly, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Southwest Airlines. "Today's announcement furthers our commitment to both cities as we add service to share Southwest's value and Hospitality with more leisure and business travelers." 

The air carrier also announced plans to expand its footprint in Chicago, adding service to Chicago O’Hare airport. 

Additional details, including schedules and fares, will be available soon. 


In its 50th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service to a Customer base topping 130 million passengers in 2019. Southwest became the nation's largest domestic air carrier in 2003 and maintains that ranking based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded. In peak travel seasons during 2019, Southwest operated more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 101 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries. In early 2020, the carrier added service to Hilo, Hawaii, and Cozumel, Mexico. Southwest will begin service to Palm Springs, California and Miami on Nov. 15, as well as two new seasonal destinations in Colorado, Steamboat Springs and Montrose (Telluride) on Dec. 19, 2020. 

The carrier issued its Southwest® Promise in May 2020 to highlight new and round-the-clock efforts to support its Customers and Employees wellbeing and comfort. Among the changes are enhanced cleaning efforts at airports and onboard aircraft, face covering requirements for Customers and Employees, and capping the number of passengers on every flight to allow middle seats to remain open through Nov. 30, 2020. Additional details about the Southwest Promise are available at Southwest.com/Promise. 

Houston Airports is the City of Houston’s Department of Aviation. Comprised of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and Ellington Airport (EFD) / Houston Spaceport, Houston Airports served nearly 60 million passengers in 2019. Houston Airports forms one of North America's largest public airport systems and positions Houston as the international passenger and cargo gateway to the South Central United States and as a primary gateway to Latin America. Houston is proud to be the only city in the Western Hemisphere with two Skytrax rated 4-star airports. fly2houston.com

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