We’re excited to make it official today by filing to fly from our new international facility at Houston (Hobby) to four destinations in Mexico plus Costa Rica, and a new country for Southwest Airlines—Belize! The service to six destinations in three countries would begin in October 2015, subject to government approval: Cancun; Mexico City; Puerto Vallarta, and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Belize City, Belize.
Shortly after our legal team filed the paperwork with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Southwest's CEO Gary Kelly shared the news before a gathering of airline industry leaders, media, and financial analysts in New York: “Service to Mexico will be the cornerstone of our international operation at Hobby and the four cities we are announcing today provide exciting travel and business options for consumers. Adding Belize to the Southwest network and growing our Costa Rica service continues our expansion to international destinations where our People and consumer-friendly policies can deliver as no other airline can.”
These new flights will be possible after construction wraps up on a $156 million five-gate international concourse now taking shape at Hobby to increase capacity for all airport functions and add a Federal Inspections Services (FIS) facility for processing arriving international passengers. At the same time, the City of Houston is preparing for the new facility by improving surrounding infrastructure including a new parking facility, central utility plant, and roadway improvements throughout the Houston Hobby Airport district.
More than 3,200 Southwest Employees are based in Houston, an original Southwest city that now supports the fifth busiest operation in our network of more than 90 airports across six countries, with approximately 150 departures a day from Houston (Hobby).