Southwest Airlines began operating flights on October 15, 2015, from the new US$156m international terminal at William P Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas.
The 280,000ft² International Terminal has been built to the west of the existing building and includes a new Southwest Airlines check-in hall, a five-gate international concourse and a Federal Inspection Services facility capable of processing 800 passengers an hour. Corgan acted as the prime architect for the new building and ensured that airport operations continued without disruption during construction.
Mario C Diaz, aviation director, HAS, said, “Someone coming to Hobby Airport for the first time in five years might not recognize where they are. This facility has been completely transformed, and is a testimony to all that can come from a successful public-private partnership. The relationship between Southwest Airlines and the City of Houston dates back to the earliest days of the company, and now it’s poised to produce a great many benefits to our mutual customers in the 21st century.”
Southwest Airlines opened the new ticketing area in September 2015, to gradually introduce passengers to the 14 self-tagging bag kiosks, 11 self-service bag-drop stations and 15 full service check-in positions.
Speaking at the opening of the ticket lobby, Jesus Saenz, deputy general manager for Houston Airport System (HAS), the airport operator, said, “Construction of the international terminal project has progressed smoothly, and we are excited to present customers with a fresh facility. Ticketing is one of the first areas a customer encounters on their journey, and passengers will enjoy the upgrades Southwest has made to enhance their travel experience.”
Another key component of the improvement program has been the addition of a new 1,000,000ft2 parking garage. The US$55m facility will provide 3,000 additional spaces, bringing the total at Hobby Airport to more than 7,200 spaces by early spring 2016. The garage will feature new signage with integrated car counts that enable drivers to know how many spaces are available in a given direction. It will be directly connected to the new ticket lobby by a climate-controlled pedestrian bridge.
Gary Kelly, chairman, president and CEO for Southwest Airlines, said, “Our roots run deepest in Houston, one of our original Southwest cities where our friendly people offer reliable service at low fares and helped make Southwest the airline that now flies more travelers in the USA every day than any other carrier. It’s a fitting place to firmly plant our investment to connect Houstonians and millions of Southwest customers who will pass through this facility to what’s important in their lives across a growing list of international service options.”
Images courtesy of Corgan