Giving Southwest international operations would spread the profit around. United, which currently offers 620 daily departures at Bush, its biggest hub, has said that if Hobby expands, it would reduce Bush capacity by 10%, halt plans to add new routes, cut 1,300 jobs and likely halt plans for a $700 million terminal improvement.
Possibly, United is bluffing. But it is worth noting that the airport's study cites as a desirable model the relationship between Miami International Airport, a big international hub, and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a mid-sized airport with plentiful domestic service and some low-cost international service. In Miami, hub carrier
has 291 daily departures to 107 destinations, and only 46 of them are domestic.
In the case of Miami, competition from Fort Lauderdale means fewer passengers and fewer domestic flights.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte
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