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  Star Wars

Not often is a city afforded the opportunity to have two
  international airports and to create what is estimated to be
  10,000 new jobs and an injection of some $1.5 billion a    year into their economy. Well, that is the dire predicament
we Houstonians are faced with.  Should we or should we not allow Dallas based Southwest Airlines to come to Hobby airport and build an international terminal at Hobby Airport in southeast Houston?

Ask any local chamber, partnership or politician about where they stand on this issue and you will get more dancing around than at Blanco’s Honky-tonk on a Friday night. The mayor’s office, through the Houston Airport System and its recent findings from two city commissioned studies, cite the example of Miami-Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago as cities with two successful international airports. United, with its stranglehold on Bush Intercontinental and the international flight market from and through Houston, has determined the study biased. Imagine that. Now the best part. The federal government gets final say on the Hobby expansion. When was the last time they got anything right? Iraq, Afghanistan, Wall Street, and healthcare all come to mind.

Can someone make a decision on what is best for the greatest amount of people rather than who has the most money or influence? Southwest will fund the $100 million terminal construction and will increase passenger fares from $3.00 to $4.50 at Hobby to offset the cost.. Not an insignificant increase, but not a deal killer. It should be noted that Southwest currently carries roughly 90% of the passengers in and out of Hobby. It would appear however, that the Hobby expansion is a slam dunk, but that is far from the case.

United has stated that this competition will cost them dearly and will pull back on their expansion plans at Bush Intercontinental Airport in addition to cutting jobs there. They welcome with open arms any Southwest international flights out of Bush, just not Hobby. United is in the ultimate catbird’s seat of having a near monopoly on international travel in and out of Houston and will not go down without pulling out all the stops. Former CEO and United ambassador Gordon Bethune has said “somebody’s been smoking crack” if they believe what the Houston Airport System’s numbers indicates. No one in their position would relish competition if they can stop it. Fortunately, we have a free enterprise system and markets should prevail. We all have a horse in this race and we should get it right.