Two stories that I have come across this week that I really wanted to share:

Will Southwest Airlines be able to start flying international flights out of Houston? Image: John Murphy / Flickr

Will Southwest Airlines be able to start flying international flights out of Houston? Image: John Murphy / Flickr

Southwest and United Airlines Battle in Houston

The short of the story is that Southwest Airlines is looking to start flying internationally from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). United, which has a main hub out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) does not like this idea and is fighting to stop Southwest.

Southwest is pushing back hard with their website FreeHobbyAirport.com. They are asking locals to join in on the fight to start allowing international flights from HOU. The site is a bit salesy stating that Southwest just wants to help the people of Houston, but I am sure profit is a factor in there as well.

I am a firm believer in competition. If there is the space and demand, let’s allow Southwest to fly internationally. It will only cause United and other airlines to step up their game.

Although, if I was United Airlines, I would probably also be trying to slow down Southwest’s progress.

Read more about this story on Brett Snyder’s CrankyFlier.com.

A group from Aviation Geek Fest pose in front of a 777 GE90 engine on the Boeing factory floor. Photo by Boeing.

A group from Aviation Geek Fest pose in front of a 777 GE90 engine on the Boeing factory floor. Photo by Boeing.

Be Proud to Be an AvGeek

Paul Thompson, who is an airline veteran and self-proclaimed AvGeek, recently wrote a story on APEX on his perspective on being an aviation lover and his experience with Aviation Geek Fest 2012.

One should not be embarrassed loving aviation and airlines. There are many of us out there and having events like Aviation Geek Fest allows us the opportunity to get together and share our passion. I had no idea how many AvGeeks were out there until I started this blog almost three years ago, but so happy to see so many that share my passion for airlines.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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5 Comments

Southwest is no stranger to these kinds of fights. Look at AA at DFW fighting against their ops from DAL. Like UA is doing now, AA tried to fight WN with legal rather than competitive response. As long as WN is willing to pay for the expansions, there’s absolutely no reason to deny them legally, and the harder UA fights against it, the less likely I am to ever respect them. Any airline that can’t compete legitimately deserves to lose market share.

Just like SWA does in their advertising, their claims about the impact of the international gates is complete BS. They estimate something like $1,000 in value to the local economy per passenger, most of whom will just be transiting, which is believable only if you… well actually I don’t think it is believable to anyone. Their application in general has numbers that are so incredibly high that I think they may’ve accidentally added a 0 to the end of every number.
United’s chief complaint is that it will take away customs officers from IAH, making their wait times longer, while it is obviously a concern for an airport that probably handles more international flights in an hour than Southwest would in a day, I think competition is the biggest factor.

Wandering Aramean has a nice post with all the numbers
http://boardingarea.com/blogs/thewanderingaramean/2012/04/can-houston-support-two-international-airports/

I am all for International flights at Hobby, but I don’t think the government should be paying for any of it. Houston and the Federal Government already pay for customs agents at IAH which allows airlines to fly internationally in Houston. If SWA wants to fly internationally they (along with any other airlines that want to fly international routes) should pay for the facilities as well as ongoing operation costs that come along with do that. As of now it does not seem like they are willing to pay for ALL of the costs. If they are I’m all for it, if not, they can always open international routes from IAH.

So, do you think that any airline operating international flights should be paying for the customs? Well, in a way, via landing fees they are?!

David

No. What I am saying is that Houston, like all cities its size has a duty (both to itself, for its residents and businesses) to provide carriers a place to have international flights. Houston does this at IAH. Southwest started operating at the airport that doesn’t have these facilities. (Which is great for me because living 40 minutes south of Houston, I rather fly out of Hobby than IAH) I just think its silly for the city to pay to duplicate facilities (and the costs associated with them) for international flying, when they already provide such a service at IAH. That isn’t to say some cities(regions) don’t do this…or that Houston won’t do this. But as the city already does provide an airport in the city that has these facilities, I don’t think the city should spend money to create another one.

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