On Tuesday the United States Department of Transportation granted permission for Southwest airlines to begin non-stop flights to Puerto Vallarta from their Houston, Texas hub at Hobby Airport.
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Initially the airline hit a roadblock in laws as it petitioned for several routes into Mexico, including Mexico City which already met the maximum allowed flights into the country. The government requested that Southwest consider removing some of their flights in exchange for their new routes, however after negotiating the United States Department of Justice was given permission for additional flights within the Mexican airspace by the Mexican government.
The law limiting flights between US and Mexico destination are set to expire in the next two years and the Department of Transportation has signaled the law will be allowed to expire opening more flights between the two countries.
United Airlines also sought additional flights in Mexico and was approved by the US Government in an unprecedented ruling by the Department of Transportation in working directly with the Mexican Government.
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The Southwest service is scheduled to begin October 15. From the new international terminal, Southwest plans to offer flights to Cancún, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, San Jose, Costa Rica, and Belize City, Belize.
The 280,000-square-foot, five-gate project at Hobby, primarily funded by Southwest, is slated for completion in October. It will increase the airport’s physical footprint by more than 40 percent. The airline predicts it will add 1.5 million new international travelers to the Houston airport each year.