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William P. Hobby Airport is Houston’s second major commercial aviation facility, owned and operated by the City of Houston, it is located approximately seven miles from the central business district. The airport is readily accessible via major thoroughfares and freeways to the entire metropolitan area. Interstate Highway 45 borders Hobby and integrates into the sophisticated road network that serves the entire Gulf Coast industrial complex.
Hobby Airport also serves the metropolitan areas of Baytown, Freeport, Galena Park, Galveston and Pasadena. It is proximate to major shopping centers, the world-famous Texas Medical Center, the Astrodome, NASA, and residential areas of the community. Because of its location, Hobby Airport can be conveniently utilized by a large portion of the population of the Houston-Clear Lake-Galveston area.
Houston Hobby (HOU) Terminal Map
Houston Hobby is a great airport to go through. Being so close to downtown, the galleria and the medical center, it’s a very quick trip in a Diamond Town Car Limo. Also, the highway access to the airport to I-45, the Gulf Freeway, has all been rebuilt in a most efficient manner. The J.D. Power and Associates surveys for Aviation Week traveler magazine satisfaction report, passengers have voted William P. Hobby Airport as the number one airport in the country for customer satisfaction in 2006 and again in 2007. Hobby ranked #2 in 2008.
In 1937, the city of Houston purchased an already existing private airport at this site, and renamed it Houston Municipal Airport. To honor a major benefactor and user of the airport, it was renamed Howard Hughes Airport 1938. The name was soon changed back to HMA, after the federal government informed Houston that no federal funds would be granted to any facility named after a living person.
During the 1940’s major improvements were made to the runways and buildings at the airport. It stayed busy during World War II, and by the end of that decade there were four airlines providing regular service from HMA.
The 50’s were a time of major change all across the USA, and airport construction boomed. National and international flights became commonplace, and infrastructure was needed to support the growing popularity of air travel. The current main terminal was constructed, old runways improved, and new runways added, to facilitate landing the new jet aircraft. A number of private hangers and aviation facilities were also constructed, mostly along the west side of the airport.
- 1937 – The city of Houston buys an existing private airport and names it HMA, Houston Municipal Airport.
- 1938 – In honor of Howard Huges, the airport was renamed in his honor as a great contributor to aviation. This author has visited Mr. Huges’ grave which is in a beautiful wooded setting only 1 mile west of downtown Houston overlooking Buffalo Bayou.
- 1950- Pan Am began a Houston-Mexico City flight. The airport was renamed to Houston International Airport the same year.
- 1954, a new and expanded terminal building was opened. This provide support for the 53,640 airline flights that carried 910,047 passengers. The airport was renamed to Houston International Airport the same year.
- April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 26 weekday departures on Eastern, 20 Braniff (plus four departures a week to/from South America), 9 Continental, 9 Delta, 9 Trans-Texas, 4 National, 2 Pan American and 1 American. There were nonstops to New York and Washington, but not to Chicago or Denver or anywhere west of there.
- Later in 1957 KLM started DC-7C flights to Amsterdam via Montreal; they later moved to Houston Intercontinental Airport (now George Bush Intercontinental Airport), where they remain today.
- 1967, in honor of ex-governor William P. Hobby. Mr. Hobby was also the owner of the Houston Post newspaper, The airport name was changed in his honor.
- 1969, the first terminals, A and B along with the runways of the new Intercontinental Airport (IAH) were completed, and scheduled passenger traffic was all relocated to the new airport. Hobby Airport continued to serve private aviation as a “general aviation airport”. Activity included corporate flights, flight training, & air-cargo operations.
- 1971, Southwest Airlines started up again and the airport was reopened. As IAH has become more and more crowded, other airlines have also begun servicing William P. Hobby Airport. There are currently 12 commercial airlines serving Hobby with domestic flights.
- 2006 – The J.D. Power and Associates surveys for Aviation Week traveler magazine satisfaction report, passengers have voted William P. Hobby Airport as the number ONE airport in the country for customer satisfaction.
- 2008 – Hobby Airport served 8.8 million passengers.
- 2008 – The J.D. Power and Associates surveys for Aviation Week traveler magazine satisfaction report, passengers have voted William P. Hobby Airport as the number TWO airport in the country for customer satisfaction.
Houston Intercontinental Airport (now George Bush Intercontinental Airport) was built in 1969 because of expansion limitations at Hobby being surrounded by residential and commercial property on all sides, whereas IAH was carved out of the giant east Texas pine forest. All commercial aviation operations at Hobby were moved to Houston Intercontinental. The Civil Aeronautics Administration recommended years earlier that Houston begin to plan to replace Hobby, since the airport was inadequate for the new aviation travel market.
Hobby was reopened to commercial aviation in 1971. In 2008 the airport handled 8.8 million passengers. Only US destinations and international destinations with border pre-clearance are served.
Hobby Airport handles domestic service for seven commercial airlines and is an international point of entry for general aviation activity between Texas and Mexico. The airport is capable of handling all but the largest narrow-body aircraft in operation. Hobby has multiple low cost carrier operations, as opposed to Bush Intercontinental Airport’s hub operation with Continental Airlines.
Southwest Airlines operated more than 80 percent of the total flights at Hobby in 2005 and an average of 10 flights per day per gate. Southwest Airlines plans to maintain Houston as a focus city and is looking to serve new markets from Hobby.
Developments at Hobby in the 2000s include a new concourse to serve Southwest Airlines and the upgrade of Runway 4/22. In May 2009, a terminal renovation project was announced that will update the ticket counters, lobby area, and baggage claim.
The Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center serves as the airport’s ARTCC.
Houston Hobby (HOU) Airport airlines and cities served:
- AirTran Airways: Atlanta
- American Eagle: Dallas/Fort Worth
- Branson AirExpress operated by Vision Airlines: Branson
- Delta Air Lines: Atlanta
- Delta Connection: operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines Atlanta
- Delta Connection: operated by Pinnacle Airlines Atlanta
- Frontier Airlines: Denver
- JetBlue Airways: New York-JFK
AND the BIGGEST Provider and only Airline in History to have never lost a passeger!
- Baltimore, Birmingham (AL)
- Charleston (SC)
- Corpus Christi
- El Paso
- Fort Lauderdale
- Harlingen, Jackson (MS)
- Las Vegas
- Little Rock
- Los Angeles
- New Orleans
- Oklahoma City
- Panama City (FL)
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- St. Louis
- Tampa, Tulsa