Keep IAH Strong


IAH and HOU with U.S. Customs? United running a HUGE campaign to keep IAH the sole INT’L US Customs airport in the city of Houston, Tx. They took out a full page ad in the Houston Chronicle, spitting out flyers like crazy, and created a petition web page here Keep IAH Strong. I’m on the fence with this one but leaning more to the opposed side of it. It only makes sense to keep IAH, with all the money the city and United has spent on the facilities. BUT, then again the knuckleheads (City of Houston) needs to come up with 5 million to break the red light camera contract. But, they can spend millions on a soccer stadium.
Is the city so disgusted with United leaving that they really have to bring this subject up to a vote? As far as I know, There is no CITY that has 2 US Customs facilities in the U.S. It goes up to vote May 9th in front of Houston City Counsel. Thoughts, comments or opinions welcomed


HOU already has customs. It’s just a matter of having international scheduled service by an airline.

There are several cities that have customs in 2 or more airports. Here’s a few.
New York City: LGA and JFK
Miami: MIA, OPF, Chalk Seaplane, and Tamiami
New Orleans: MSY and Lakefront
Houston: IAH and HOU.


There’s a difference between having “customs” which can handle private and cargo flights and a FIS which can handle international passenger flights. They’re talking about opening a FIS at HOU here.

There are some very small airports that have opened a FIS in recent years for flights to the caribbean and mexico such as LAN and RFD so I think the argument against HOU having one is rather weak. In Chicago, MDW has a FIS and it doesn’t seem to hurt international traffic at ORD at all.


In other words, this is turning into the Wright Amendment: Houston Edition.



FIS is available at HOU on an on-call basis.


The petition drive may as well be named “Keep Hobby Weak”.

When one airport (or dominant airline) seeks to protect its turf by placing boundaries, limitations and restrictions on another airport/airline (that they would never tolerate being placed on themselves) - it’s bound to fail, eventually.

The best way for UAL to protect its international business at IAH is to offer the best service on the best aircraft to the most desirable destinations at the most competitive prices. In doing so, they can stop worrying about Southwest and meddling in Houston politics.


The funny thing is that if another airline (say Frontier) applied for Mexican route authorities from Houston (say CUN, PVR, SJD, CZM) (which they would operate from IAH), they would get them because WN/FL can’t currrently bid against them (unless they wanted to operate them from IAH), then the case for WN wanting or needing an FIS at HOU becomes extremely weak. They would only be able to use it to destinations with an open skies agreement with the US (such as Jamaica, Costa Rica, or the Dominican Republic) since there can only be two designated US carriers on all Houston-Mexico routes and United holds the first designation on all of them.


City Council approves Hobby Airport expansion deal
Mayor Annise Parker points out flights are not scheduled until 2015, and she believes the greater Houston community is big enough to support two international airports.

“We’re going to look at our fall schedule and jobs that will be lost,” said Stephanie Buchanan with United Airlines. This will directly harm our IAH hub. We said the diversion of traffic from IAH would cause us to reduce our planned capacity at IAH, costing 1,300 jobs. We expect to begin a 10 percent reduction in planned IAH capacity beginning with the fall 2012 schedule change. We will do all we can to mitigate the impact through voluntary programs and relocation to other jobs across the system.

If that’s not a political corporate smoke screen bullsh!t comment by Buchanan, I don’t know what is. Approval of the expansion is irrelevant to the reduction of the fall 2012 schedule especially when southwest doesnt plan on flying out till 2015. Airlines usually reduce capacity during the fall. I find this embarrassing for United giving this any attention. Jobbers!
Hey Southwest, What’s wrong with flying out of IAH?


Excuse me but since when was where an airline can fly subject to approval by a city? Last time I checked it was the federal government that had control over this.

As far as United is concerned: They are scared of competition because they know that Southwest does a better job than they do.

Why should Southwest fly out of IAH? They have a big base at HOU. They give Houstonians an option of flying out of the airport of their choice. Have you ever driven from northern Houston to southern Houston during rush time? It can take over an hour to do this. Having more flights from HOU gives people in south Houston, Galveston, Texas City, Clear Lake, etc., an option over driving to IAH.

Southwest did fly out of IAH for several years. Unfortunately, they only segment they had out of IAH was to DAL.


Really - so United does not want any competition for the Mexico/ Central America routes because it wants to protect Houston?

Huh? The message from United is simple - let us keep our monopoly status, high fares and high profit on these routes or you’ll be sorry.

Anyone who gives you that attitude should be made welcome to see the door and not let it hit them on the way out.

Southwest employees are better paid, better treated and guess what? Would still live in Houston - so the total number of jobs would probably not change. UAL has to be looking for any excuse to cut back on the IAH hub - and with competition that they cannot meet - even with their lower labor costs than WN,

Screw 'em. Its not a zero sum game - Southwest would likely start with 3 and build to 5 or 6 flights a day south of the border - exceeding UAL by a factor of three probably. Fares may not drop that much - but on HOU origination flights they most definitely would.

1300 jobs in Houston for 10 flights a day? Seriously? What a joke - they’ll simply cut overall capacity - UAL does not WANT the IAH hub anyway - they have DEN/LAX/ORD for the flights to Mexico and Central America.