Southwest Airlines announced today that it applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation to serve Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, Belize from Houston Hobby Airport starting in October 2015. This adds Southwest’s second destination in Central America, a seventh country, and the 96th city on the route map. In addition, Southwest applied to add service from Houston to five other international destinations already on the route map including:
- Cancun, Mexico
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico
- San Jose, Costa Rica (service starts from Baltimore in March, 2015)
According to the press release: “The new Houston flights will be made possible by the completion of an estimated $156 million five-gate international concourse now under construction at Hobby. The completed project will increase capacity for all airport functions and add a Federal Inspections Services (FIS) facility to streamline U.S. Customs and Border Protection screening and baggage processing for arriving international passengers.”
Southwest previously announced Saturday only non-stop service between Houston Hobby and Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba beginning March 7, 2015. This flight was made possible since Aruba follows the CBP Pre-clearance procedures, which provide U.S. border inspection in certain foreign countries.
This is just the next in what will be a ‘string of announcements’ of international service from Southwest Airlines out of Houston Hobby, as Southwest is building a 5 gate international concourse there. The international concourse broke ground in September 2013, and the concourse is set to be completed by the fall of 2015. Meanwhile, Houston is currently Southwest’s fifth busiest operation, with approximately 150 departures a day.