Southwest Airlines announced Monday that it plans to begin operating out of two major airports: Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Flights are expected to begin at both airports in the first half of 2021, the budget airline said in a news release, adding that flight schedules and fares will be released “soon.”
“Southwest owes decades of success to our Employees and Customers who have supported our business in Chicago and Houston,” said Gary Kelly, the airline’s CEO and chairman. “Today’s announcement furthers our commitment to both cities as we add service to share Southwest’s value and hospitality with more leisure and business travelers.”
Southwest said it will continue to operate out of Midway airport in Chicago and Houston Hobby. Both pairs of airports are roughly 30 miles apart.
The Dallas-based airline employs more than 4,800 people in Chicago nearly 4,000 in Houston, the company said.
This won’t be the first time Southwest has operated out of George Bush Intercontinental — the airport holds a special place in the airline’s history.
On its first day of operation in 1971, Southwest operated out of three airports, including George Bush Intercontinental, before moving to Houston Hobby not long after. Southwest operated out of both airports between 1980 and 2005.
Southwest was founded in San Antonio in 1967 and took its inaugural flight in 1971. The airline is in its 50th year of service.