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Southwest Airlines breaks ground on Houston Hobby terminal

Texas-based low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) said it broke ground Monday on a new international terminal at William P Hobby Airport marking the official start of construction on the USD 156m project.

Once completed, the five-gate facility will accommodate regional international flights for Southwest Airlines, with service reaching destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the northern cities of South America.

According to Southwest, a 2012 study commissioned by the Houston Airport System indicates that the new terminal will generate more than 10,000 jobs across the Greater Houston metropolitan area and will provide an economic impact of USD 1.6bn.

The study estimates that the terminal will bring in an additional 1m passengers a year to Hobby Airport. The terminal project, fully funded by Southwest Airlines, includes a new five-gate international terminal, expansion of the existing security checkpoint, and upgrades to the Southwest Airlines ticketing counter area.

In support of the project, and in anticipation of the expected increase in passenger traffic, the Houston Airport System will be making significant investments of its own, constructing a new multi-level parking garage and making improvements to the existing roadway system.

Southwest Airlines said it anticipates its first international flights out of Houston Hobby´s new international terminal will begin in late 2015 to destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the northern cities of South America.

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