Officials now have in hand the first installment toward a $470 million expansion to the William P. Hobby Airport’s western concourse. The work will include seven additional gates, an expanded baggage handling system and baggage claim area, and an overhead canopy over the departures curb to shield airport users from harsh weather.

Current situation

On Aug. 30, Houston City Council approved using $250 million of Houston Airport System funds to move forward with construction at Hobby. In March 2022, council approved appropriating an initial $20 million from Houston Airport System funds for the planning and design of the expansion, according to a Houston Airport System news release.

The expansion will include modern design, natural light and a “Houston-friendly” ambiance. Additionally, the expansion will create room for restaurants, retail shops and art, according to the release.

The expansion will begin in 2024 and take two years to implement.

How we got here

Increased demand is driving the expansion.

In 2016, Hobby’s first full year of international service, the airport had:
  • 801,000 international passengers
  • 12.1 million domestic travelers
In 2022, despite setbacks from the pandemic, the airport saw:
  • 913,000 international passengers
  • 12.2 million domestic travelers
The backstory

Hobby Airport last expanded in October 2015 when Southwest Airlines commenced service from the 280,000-square-foot western concourse.

Today, the concourse has five gates, a ticketing hall, a Federal Inspection Services facility and an expanded TSA checkpoint. The opening of the $156 million concourse marked the return of international air service to Hobby after 46 years, the release reads.

What they’re saying

“With business and leisure travel on the rise, this is an exciting time for expansion at one of our major airports,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in the release. “Enhancing our Houston Hobby Airport infrastructure strengthens the backbone of our economic vitality and cultural prosperity. This expansion project symbolizes our commitment to a thriving future.”

“We appreciate the city of Houston’s longstanding support of Southwest as we continue expanding our service from Hobby Airport,” said Steve Sisneros, vice president of airport affairs for Southwest Airlines, in the release. “We look forward to working together with the city and Houston Airports to bring this expansion project to fruition over the next few years.”

What’s next

In the next 12 to 15 months, airport officials will request the final chunk of money for the project: $200 million.