According to the Houston Business Journal, Southwest Airlines is announcing its 97th destination this afternoon – service to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) starting with a daily non-stop flight from Houston Hobby (HOU) to LIR on November 1, 2015. Saturday only non-stop service from Baltimore Washington International (BWI) to Liberia will begin on November 7, 2015.Southwest also announced that it would start service from Montego Bay (MBJ) Jamaica to HOU on November 1, 2015.The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Gary Kelly is announcing the service this afternoon in front of Houston City Hall along with Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
The new service from LIR to HOU will be launched from Houston Hobby’s international terminal, with the five new gates scheduled to open October 15, 2015. Southwest Airlines will use 4 of the 5 new gates, and all other airlines will share the remaining gate. Southwest Airlines previously announced service late last year from HOU to the following cities:
- Cancun, Mexico (CUN)
- Mexico City, Mexico (MEX)
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (PVR)
- Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, Mexico (SJD)
- San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)
- Belize City, Belize (BZE)
Southwest Airlines was able to start service from Aruba (AUA) to Houston earlier this year since Aruba has preclearance, where travelers pass through Immigration and Customs and Department of Agriculture inspections prior to boarding the aircraft.
Southwest has hinted at increasing its international destinations, and I wonder if today’s announcement is just the first of many Caribbean destinations for Southwest in the near future. Could Southwest service to Canada be far behind?