A presentation from Houston's director of aviation Mario Diaz to city council this week, apparently resulted in more questions needing to be answered. In fact, council members grilled him for a study in which he concluded that allowing Southwest Airlines international flights from Hobby Airport, would benefit the area economically. United Airlines, which flies out of Bush Intercontinental, opposes the plan.
This is Mayor Annise Parker:
"United Airlines has their own analysis, Southwest Airlines has their own analysis. I assume that the independent analysis paid for by the Houston Airport system, will fall someplace in between the United analysis and Southwest Airline's analysis. At some point, all the data is gonna be on the table, and it's gonna be a matter of the council members evaluating that data and moving forward."
The consultant's study claims that expanding Hobby for international flights would add 10,000 jobs. Parker says one question that's already been answered:
"Are we in fact, providing job opportunities to the area around Hobby Airport, if we do an expansion of Hobby Airport, doesn't matter what airline it is? Absolutely. There are council members who will make their decision based on that."
But the jury is still out on whether expanding Hobby Airport would lead to the decline of traffic at Bush. Parker says while she won't rush the decision on expanding Hobby, she hopes one will be made before the council budget meetings in June.