Dear Fellow Houstonian,
Thank you for showing your support for expansion at Hobby Airport. I am proud to have been the first Houston City Councilmember to publically endorse a new international terminal at Hobby Airport. I am excited to say that the City of Houston, in conjunction with Texas-based Southwest Airlines, will be moving forward to ensure the success of this important project, pending an upcoming vote by City Council.
On May 23, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, and seven members of Houston City Council, including myself, gathered at William P. Hobby Airport to announce a memorandum of understanding between Southwest Airlines and the City of Houston.
On Wednesday, May 30, Houston City Council will vote to build a new five gate international terminal at the airport, allowing for flights to Latin America and the Caribbean by 2015. Four of the five gates will be occupied by Southwest. I look forward to supporting this measure at City Council next week.
Houstonians will benefit from lower fares, economic expansion and more transportation choice. Hobby Airport expansion increases Houston's visibility as a global business and tourism hub and will bring meaningful long-term economic benefit to our city.
Best of all, the entire $100 million price tag for the new terminal will be paid for by Southwest Airlines. Houston taxpayers will not be asked to pay for or finance the cost of expansion. The terminal will be privately built and, once open, the terminal will be owned by the City of Houston debt free.
The Passenger Facility Charge, of PFC, at Hobby Airport will remain $3.00 per passenger (it is currently $4.50 at Intercontinental). Critics of Hobby Airport expansion have expressed concern that the price of construction would be passed on to taxpayers; this will not be the case.
I am proud of Houston's Airport System. Every day, I work hard to ensure Bush Intercontinental, Hobby and Ellington Field are serving Houstonians with the highest level of customer service with an eye on the future. Our airports attract a significant portion of our local economic activity and directly support tens of thousands of jobs.
With warm regards,
Andrew C. Burks, Jr.
Houston City Council, At-Large Position 2