Southwest resumes Houston Bush Intercontinental after 16-year absence

The carrier has returned to the airport for the first time since 2005 and started five new routes.

Southwest Airlines has relaunched service from Houston George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) for the first time in 16 years, opening nonstop routes to five destinations.

The carrier, which is the dominant airline at Houston William P. Hobby (HOU), located some 38 km away from IAH, operated its inaugural flights on April 12.

A total of 15 daily departures will be offered from IAH’s Terminal A across five routes to Chicago Midway (MDW), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Denver (DEN), Nashville (BNA) and New Orleans (MSY).

“Airline expansions like this are important to global air service hubs like Houston,” Houston Airports director Mario Diaz said.

“As we recover from the pandemic, safety of our passengers will remain our top priority. Partners like Southwest will ensure that as we rebuild and recover, we are building forward better.”

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Southwest has a long history with IAH. The airport was one of the three the carrier operated from on its first day of operation, June 18, 1971. The carrier moved to HOU shortly after, although it operated service from both airports between 1980 and 2005.

According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, Southwest will face direct and indirect competition on all five new routes. 

Photo credit: Houston Airports