Southwest Rolls Over United in Hobby Battle

In the end, it wasn't even close.

The epic battle between Southwest and United was won by SWA, with council voting 16-1 today to allow expansion that will enable international flights out of Hobby.

United flies internationally out of Bush Intercontinental, and wanted to keep that status very much quo. United said opening Latin American flights out of Hobby would result in lost jobs, longer waits at customs, dogs sleeping with cats, etc. They also said such a move might make them drop a planned expansion at Bush.

Southwest argued the competition will lower prices and increase jobs, which just goes to show how consultants can predict just about whatever they want.

Mayor Annise Parker pushed hard for the Hobby option.

"This is a big win for Houston and the traveling public," Parker said.. "Competition will lead to jobs, lower fares and a positive economic impact for the city. My goal is a strong international presence at Hobby and a continued strong international presence at Bush airport. We will also continue our commitment to ensuring there is adequate customs and immigration staffing at Bush and at Hobby when international service begins there in 2015."

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly