SWA to IAH

Southwest Airlines takes off with game changing Houston airport expansion

Southwest Airlines takes off with major Houston airport expansion

Southwest Airlines airplane
Southwest is expanding to Houston's biggest airport.  Southwest Airlines/Facebook

Southwest Airlines has just made traveling in Houston a whole lot easier. The Dallas-based carrier announced on October 12 that it plans to return to George Bush Intercontinental Airport by next year. The addition will complement the airline’s already substantial operation of Houston Hobby.

A little history: 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; it operated service from both airports between 1980 and 2005. Houston is a major Southwest hub, providing some 4,000 local jobs.

Houston isn’t the only market where the airline is increasing its reach. Work is underway to add new service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, which will pair with existing service from the carrier’s longtime Chicago home, Midway International Airport — one of the busiest airports in Southwest’s network.

Service to both airports is anticipated to begin in the first half of 2021, according to the carrier. Additional details, including schedules and fares, will be released at a later date. Time will tell what effect, if any, the additions will have on competitors’ pricing. 

“Southwest owes decades of success to our employees and customers who have supported our business in Chicago and Houston,” said Gary Kelly, CEO and chairman of Southwest Airlines, in a statement. “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.”