William P. Hobby Airport is an airport located in Houston, Texas, just 7 miles away from downtown Houston. Its three-letter airport code (IATA) is HOU. William P. Hobby is Houston's oldest public airport and was its main airfield until the opening of George Bush Intercontinental Airpor in 1969. HOU airport stopped operating flights after the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport. After a couple of years, it opened its gates again and became a hub for private and corporate aviation.
Southwest Airlines chose Houston Hobby as a focus city. William P. As of December 2017, Hobby Airport is the fifth biggest airport in Southwest's network. Southwest Airlines began operating its first international terminal at this airport and started flights to Central and South America and Mexico in 2015.
The airport sits on 1,304 acres with its four runways. The old art deco terminal facility now houses the 1940 Air Terminal Museum.
Hobby Airport started conducting flights as a private landing field in 1927 on a 600 acre plain called W.T. Carter. It was served by Eastern Air Lines and Braniff International Airways in the 30s. This site was named Houston Municipal Airport after the city of Houston purchased it in 1937. The airfield was later reamed Howard R. Hughes Airport in honor of Howard Hughes, who paid for various improvements of the airport. One of these improvements being the addition of the first control tower in 1938. although Howard Hughes's name did not stick long to the airport as he still alive at the time, and federal improvement funds were not allowed by regulations to name airports after a living person.
In 1940, the city of Houston inaugurated a new hangar and air terminal.
In 1943, the first Women Airforce Service Pilots training was conducted at the William P. Hobby Airport.
Braniff International Airways launched international flights from Houston in June 1948 with DC-6 and DC-4s to South America through Panama and Cuba.
Braniff Airlines started direct flight via Lima to Rio de Janeiro and La Paz in 1949. Pan American World Airways also began nonstop service to Mexico City in 1950.
An expanded terminal building opened in 1954 to assist the 53 thousand flights carrying more than 900 thousand passengers. That same year, the airport was renamed to Houston International Airport.
In 1959 the airport entered the jet age by scheduling Delta Douglas DC-8 plane flights to New York. In 1960, Braniff International Airlines added Boeing 707s to conduct nonstop flights to Chicago O'Hare and Dallas Love Field Airport.
Continental 707s and DC-8s began flying nonstop to Los Angeles In June 1961, and National Electras flew nonstop to San Diego, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. These were Houston's first direct flights beyond El Paso.
The airport was renamed yet again to William P. Hobby Airport, after a former Texas governor, William P. Hobby.
The airport had several long flights: Braniff flew directly from Hobby Airport to Panama City with Boeing 720s and Boeing 707s in the late 60s.
In June 1969, Houston Intercontinental Airport opened, and all the airline companies moved their services there. William P. Hobby Airport had no scheduled passenger flights. The Civil Aeronautics Administration suggested that Houston City prepare for Hobby airport replacement.
The first airline to renew flights in Hobby airport was Houston Metro Airlines, which in the early 70s was flying between Hobby and Houston Airport.
Jet airline service renewed in 1971 when Southwest Airlines began nonstop flights to San Antonio and Dallas Love Field.
Continental Airlines had a hub at IAH and one at Hobby in 1987. In February of the same year, Continental Airlines had direct flights from Hobby to Los Angeles, Denver, Austin, Miami, Las Vegas, New York LaGuardia Airport, San Antonio, Washington DC, and New Orleans.
Current Flights services
Southwest expressed a keen interest in launching new international flights service from Hobby in 2011.
In 2012, Mario Diaz, Houston Director of Aviation, declared support of international flights from William P. Hobby Airport. Southwest Airlines started a new campaign called Free Hobby. Petitions were asked to sing, and a website was creat just for supporters of international flights from Hobby. United Airlines has objected to these plans, indicating a study that resolves that this shift would cost the Houston area jobs and would result in a decrease in GRP.
Houston Mayor supported Southwest's struggle to make William P. Hobby Airport an international airport, and in 2012, Houston's city council approved the request. Five new gates were added afterward to provide both Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 family aircraft. This extension was estimated to have cost $156 million.