Houston William P. Hobby Airport
History of Hobby Airport
The William P. Hobby Airport is Houston’s first original airport. With the addition of the Houston International Airport, William P. Hobby Airport went from being the most popular, biggest airport in Houston to a secondary airport. This happened in 1969. Before that point, the airport was the biggest and busiest in the city of Houston. This airport was opened in 1927 on a mere 600 acres, though that was quite large at the time. The airport changed names several times over the course of its life. In 1937, the name of the Hobby Airport was changed so that it became the Houston Municipal Airport. Less than a year later, the airport was named after the very famous Howard Hughes, and remained the Howard R. Hughes Airport until 1967 when it was renamed the William P. Hobby Airport after the former governor of Texas.
Since the William P. Hobby Airport was built in 1929, it has expanded in size. As of today, the airport has more than doubled in size from 600 acres to 1,304 acres. It has four runways and accommodates approximately 9 million passengers on an annual basis. The four runways range in size from 5,148 feet long to 7,602 feet in length to accommodate a variety of different aircraft as they take off and land. Nearly 262 aircraft use the William P. Hobby Airport as a base for their flights, though most of the flights in and out of William P. Hobby Airport are on Southwest Airlines.
The arrival of Pan Am to the William P. Hobby Airport in 1950 led to a huge increase in passengers travelling through the airport. At the time, nearly 1 million passengers per year flew from the William P. Hobby Airport, which is the equivalent of what 9 million passengers per year is today. The reason for this growth was Pan Am’s nonstop flight from Houston to Mexico City, which was a popular vacation destination for many passengers and business people at that time.
In 1969, the city of Houston began construction on the Houston International Airport rather than expanding the already existing William P. Hobby Airport because of size and growth restrictions. This caused all of the airlines at William P. Hobby to move to the Houston International Airport and cease operations for just about two years. William P. Hobby Airport did not reopen to passengers until 1971. Neither airport services many of the same destinations, and the William P. Hobby Airport is no longer considered an international airport. However, it is uncertain whether or not that will change in the future.
There are only 26 gates at the William P. Hobby airport, and most of them are used by Southwest Airlines. Only seven of the gates are used for other airlines. The airport has only one terminal and one concourse. The airport offers passengers and travelers’ unlimited free Wi-Fi access and other amenities such as public restrooms and bilingual staff who can help passengers reach their destinations and gates.
There is a four-story parking garage on the airport lot that connects passengers from the parking lot to the terminal and airside. There are also economy parking lots at the William P. Hobby Airport that are within walking distance of the terminals, which eliminates the aggravating need to wait for buses and shuttles to take passengers to and from their parking spots to their terminals. The airport can accommodate more than 4,000 vehicles at any given time. There is also a valet parking lot for those who wish to have their vehicles pulled around to them after landing from their flight.