I live in Florida now but prior to that lived in Houston for 20 years and have owned LUV stock since the early 1980's.
The move for International flights at Hobby is great and long overdue. But what surprises me is why only 5 gates? At their best utilization rate of gates LUV managed 10 flights per gate a day. International flights will most likely not allow that rate of use due to custom requirements. Given the size of Houston, the number of domestic flights into Hobby and anticipated demand it seems any International terminal LUV builds should have a minimum of 10-15 gates.
The only rationale I can see for the smaller build out is LUV management allowing for the delay of the -800's they recently announced.
IMO, international gateways will be spread across the state. AirTran is already serving Mexico from AUS & SAT. DAL won't be in the mix though. The Wright Ammendment compromise that goes into effect in 2014 restricts international travel to DFW.
Thanks for the reply - but if LUV is going to spread international flights across Texas then it would seem to me they need more -800's andshould not have delayed them UNLESS there is a wait for additional terminals to be built to accommodate customs.
A LONG TIME AGO I suggested LUV should move into the old Homestead AFB to avoid Miami but increase their presence in the S.E. FLorida market where they are currently constrained by lack of gates. There is plenty of demand for service down there. LUV could use Homestead as another gateway to the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Central and South America. One additional plum would be Cuba when, not if, it is opened up.