United says global Hobby would cost jobs, flights at IAH, Kiah Collier, Chron.com...
United Airlines officials said Wednesday that allowing international commercial flights at Hobby Airport would force the carrier to cut 1,300 Houston jobs and dozens of flights from Bush Intercontinental Airport, and that city-paid consultants and Southwest Airlines are using unrealistic data to support the proposal....I would also contend that Jeff Smisek and United are not the best parties to be making it. Certainly not when their arguments read like economic blackmail.
A better argument is made at the end of the article by former Continental CEO Gordon Bethune:
Former Continental CEO Gordon Bethune, who attended the Wednesday meeting, said Bush was always intended to be the city's only global airport. "There was a partnership that was forged on the 'I' in 'IAH'," Bethune said.
Were I United, I'd keep ol' happy Jeffery in the corner and let Mr. Bethune take the lead on this issue. It's getting to the point that Smisek is losing all credibility with fliers and Houston decision makers as he continues to run United down into the valley of airplane suck.
I would still like to see Hobby expand under the right circumstances, however, I don't think we're going to see those circumstances play out in the current political environment, especially not with the current administration who really seems to be doing this just to "get" back at United for a host of issues. Since Houston's not going to do it right, I'd just as soon it not be done at all. Putting happy Jeffery in charge almost guarantees it will get done, incorrectly.
On the other hand, you have to give a nod to Southwest, who correctly identified a weakness in the competition and is doing a good job capitalizing on it.
Also, someone REALLY needs to get their hands on those two "unreleased" studies from the Houston Airport System. Would love to take a look at those.