Skip to main content

Airport Passenger Count Up in First Half of '19

Published Aug 07, 2019 by Maggie Martin

The Houston Chronicle reports nearly 30 million passengers traveled through the Houston airports in the first half of 2019, more than a four percent increase for the same period last year at Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports.

According to the Chronicle, a record number of 58.3 million passengers went through IAH and Hobby last year. It was the first year-over-year uptick in traffic since the oil-price slump and Hurricane Harvey prompted a couple years of modest declines. 

The Houston Airport System had other positive gains earlier this year.

According to the Greater Houston’s Partnership’s most recent Key Economic Indicator report on Aviation, HAS handled 59.4 million passengers in the 12 months ending in May 2019. That’s another record for Houston and an 8 percent increase from the 55 million handled over a year ending in May 2018. Domestic travel saw the greatest gains with a 4.8 percent increase in passengers from May 2018 to May 2019, which is about 192,000 more passengers. 

These numbers come on the heels of several developments in Houston aviation, including JetBlue’s announcement that it’ll move its operations from Hobby Airport to IAH in October to grow its Houston customer base and expand its presence in the northeast. 

Houston airports KEI

Learn more about Houston Airports here

Related News


Houston's Hobby Airport Starts 2020 With New Airline, Maintenance Facility

Houston's William P. Hobby Airport is marking the start of the new year with a couple of big announcements. Earlier this week, Allegiant announced it added Houston as one of a few cities it’ll begin serving in 2020. According to its press release, the new seasonal nonstop routes from Hobby Airport include Knoxville, TN, Asheville, NC, Savannah, GA, and Destin/Fort Walton Beach, FL. Allegiant says it’s also expanding to Boston and Chicago. It’s the largest expansion in the airline’s 23-year history, driven by the company’s focus on leisure travel. Allegiant’s announcement comes just days after Southwest Airlines unveiled a $125 million, 240,000-square-foot maintenance facility at Hobby. It’s the largest in the Dallas-based carrier’s network, and includes offices, training facilities and warehouse space. “It’s proof of our devotion and our dedication to Houston,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said during the grand opening celebration, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. “And the opportunity that we see here, and the excitement that we have to continue to grow.” Kelly told reporters that Houston is one of three key cities where Southwest is focused on adding flights over the next 10 years, according to the Houston Business Journal. Southwest’s CEO said he ultimately wants to connect Houston to South America. “I don’t see that in the next year or so, but definitely down the road it’s something that we would be interested to do,” Kelly said. Houston is the international air gateway to the South Central U.S. and Latin America. With the addition of international air service at Hobby Airport in ’15, Houston became the only city in Texas with two airports offering international service and one of only eight such cities nationwide. According to Houston Facts, domestic travel at Hobby Airport increased by more than 7% to over 13 million passengers in ’18. Airlines that offer direct domestic flights from Hobby include American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines. Southwest is currently the only airline out of Hobby offering direct international flights. The Partnership's 2019 Economic Highlights report says the Houston Airport System (HAS) offers nonstop flights to some 190 domestic and international destinations in 37 countries. Hobby is ranked as the 35th busiest airport in the nation.  Learn more about air transportation in Houston in Houston Facts. Read how Hobby performed last year in the 2019 Economic Highlights report and get a monthly aviation update. 
Read More

Houston Airports Report Record Traffic, More Growth on the Horizon

The Houston Airport System logged record passenger traffic in 2018 and celebrated the 50th anniversary of Bush Intercontinental Airport this year. Meanwhile work has begun on the new Mickey Leland International Terminal that’s expected to open at Bush in 2022.  Houston Airport System Executive Director Mario Diaz gave an update on the system’s three airports and discussed the future of aviation here in Houston and around the world in his 2019 State of the Airports address this week. The event was hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership.  “The future of aviation and travel is filled with infinite possibility,” Diaz told the crowd of more than 400. “We are on the cusp of not only the next generation of flight, but also the next frontier of exploration.”  A record 14.4 million passengers traveled through Hobby in 2018, up nearly 8% from the year before. International traffic alone was up 16% year-over-year to surpass the 1 million mark.  Passenger traffic at Bush was also up nearly 8% to 43.8 million travelers. Roughly 10.7 million of that total were international travelers. Diaz said he expects that international figure will continue to go up with the arrival of the much-anticipated new international terminal. When it opens in 2022, the terminal will have six new gates to accommodate wide-body aircraft. Today, roughly two-dozen domestic and foreign flag carriers fly to international destinations out of Bush.  In just a few days, Houston will once again offer flights to all six of the planet’s inhabited continents. Ethiopian Airlines will fly its inaugural flight to Bush on December 16, marking the relaunch of weekly service between Houston and West Africa.   “This service will not only be important for our nation’s largest Nigerian community—which lives in Houston—but also to the diverse businesses community that has demanded access to West Africa for years,” Diaz said.  Turning south to Ellington Airport, Diaz said a new state-of-the-art traffic control tower will be vital to future military and civilian aviation missions as well as the Houston Spaceport being developed there. Earlier this year, officials announced that the Spaceport secured an anchor tenant for its first phase. Flight Safety International will build a $16 million, 150,000-square-foot aviation and aerospace training facility that’s expected to create hundreds of new jobs.    Houston’s airports are vital to the region’s economic success and have been for decades. In his opening remarks, Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey pointed out that some companies expand to Houston because of its global air connections. “Houston’s connections facilitate trade, and that trade attracts more companies and foreign investment,” Harvey said. “In turn, airlines expand their non-stop service to Houston and that cycle continues.”  A recent study shows Houston’s airports contribute more than $36 billion to the local economy annually. That figure will certainly continue to grow as Houston becomes more interconnected with the rest of the world. In just 20 years, there are expected to be more than 8 billion air travelers, a figure that exceeds the entire current population of the world.  "Imagine that: a world where global prosperity is no longer hindered by air connectivity," Diaz told the audience. "Air travel, at it's best, will become a careful and deliberate orchestra--one that will continue to change and shrink the world"  Click here to see monthly aviation stats, learn more about the Houston Airport System and international business in Houston. 
Read More

Related Events

Executive Partners