Airports: Economic Drivers of Any City

Houston's director of aviation delivers the state of the airports address to a packed house at the Westin Galleria. Mario Diaz says he's excited about the growth and opportunity the aviation industry brings to the city.

Airports are some of the most important economic drivers to the vitality of any city. Mario Diaz, Houston’s director of aviation, told a luncheon crowd at the Westin Galleria, that the propsects of Bush and Hobby Airports continue to grow with the increase in passenger and cargo traffic.

“We are in the business of connecting human beings to each other. The companies that fill the deep and central need of every person on the planet to be seen, to be heard, to be acknowledged, and to be appreciated. Not settling to merely be the conduit for such connections, will lead our industry into our second century of flight.”

Diaz calls changes being planned for this year dramatic, with two terminals being upgraded, and the introduction of innovative aircraft, “game changers” as they’re called, to the industry. He touched briefly on competing claims of United and Southwest Airlines, over whether Hobby Airport should become an international airport. Southwest wants to start offering service to Cancun and the Caribbean, a move that United opposes. After the speech, Diaz told reporters that he’s not sure he understands United’s argument.

“Again, I think that we ought to wait until the information is out, so that everyone, all of the public, has the same information that’s available, and then the public can have a dialogue about this. To include United, to include Southwest, to include the Airport system, to include the public, the people in the city, all to have a dialogue about what’s in the best interest of the city.”

He adds he will present his recommendation to Mayor Annise Parker next month on how to proceed.