Earlier this month, Southwest filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for slot exemptions that would allow the carrier to offer nonstop service between DCA and HOU. The proposed service is possible due to Spirit Airlines' discontinued use of the slot exemptions, which are available for use inside Washington National's traditional 1,250 mile service perimeter.
In addition to the more than 10,000 supporters who endorsed the petition, many federal, state, and local officials—including four United States Senators and 30 Members of Congress from Texas and New Mexico, as well as the Mayors of Houston and Albuquerque—voiced their support through letters to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Other supporters include the City of Houston and the Greater Houston Partnership, the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Houston Area Urban League, and the Association of Commerce and Industry of New Mexico, just to name a few.
A decision by the DOT is expected in the first quarter of 2013. Southwest is prepared to begin service this spring if awarded the slots.
Southwest has served Houston since June 18, 1971, and currently has more than 2,700 HOU Employees operating 143 daily flights. Earlier this year, the Houston City Council approved Southwest's proposal to construct a new five-gate international facility at Hobby Airport. This new service is scheduled to begin in 2015.
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