United employees concerned about proposal for international flights at Hobby Airport

April 10, 2012 4:49:29 PM PDT
There are new developments in the debate over whether to allow international flights at Hobby Airport. Flight attendants are now weighing in, worried a decision could cost them their jobs.

One day after a study claimed the proposal could create tens of thousands of jobs, flight attendants say they're worried a deal could mean just the opposite for them. And on Tuesday, they brought their concerns to city leaders.

Both United Airlines and Southwest Airlines say they want to contribute to the city's economic growth. United employees claim this proposal is not the way to do it.

"Why mess with success?" said United employee Diedra Fontaine.

United employees implored city leaders to thoroughly review the findings of a lengthy impact study that is currently underway before accepting the Houston Airport System's recommendation.

"Your support of maintaining one international airport in Houston is critical to our city's economic growth," Fontaine said.

Southwest Airlines wants to make Hobby Airport an international hub by offering flights to Latin America. United claims that could mean fewer international flights out of Bush Intercontinental Airport and could possibly mean fewer jobs. City leaders say they want to do what's in the best interest of the city.

"We take this matter very seriously and would hope that all the information would be laid out to the council so we'll have that opportunity to look at it and then make that decision," said City Council Member Larry Green.

More competition could lead to more travel options and cheaper airfares. Those lower prices would be good news for Houston air travelers. According to a local travel agent, last March the average international air fare was $485; this March it's around $630 due to skyrocketing fuel prices.

"We are hurting in Houston and we need to get on with the business of getting people jobs getting this economy back straight, getting us out of the deficit which we are in. Right now, your argument is not an argument, it is a request," said City Council Member Andrew Burks.

United says its study is in the final stages. Houston City Council members could vote on the proposal as soon as next month.

You can read more about the efforts at Hobby here.


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