Southwest Airlines' first flight from Aruba to Houston is due to arrive Saturday, marking the first international service at Houston's Hobby Airport in 46 years.
The flight marks the start of Southwest's international expansion at Hobby Airport.
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A new international terminal is expected to open in October, and Southwest plans to launch flights to destinations in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Southwest plans to fly between Houston and Aruba once a week through Aug. 8, which is possible now because passengers will be able to clear U.S. customs at a facility in Aruba before boarding the plane.
Airport spokesman Bill Begley said that Hobby hasn't offered international service since 1969. That's when a new, bigger facility opened far north of downtown — it's now called George Bush Intercontinental Airport, named after the first President Bush. Southwest moved into Hobby Airport in 1971 but until now has only offered domestic flights from there.
United Airlines, which sells international flights from Bush, opposed construction of the new Hobby terminal, saying it would result in fewer flights and lost jobs at Bush airport.