Southwest Airlines will begin non-stop service to six Latin American destinations from Houston Hobby in October 2015, in a move that has the carrier adding Belize City to its network.

The Dallas-based airline has filed with the US Department of Transportation to begin flights to Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, San Jose (Costa Rica) and Belize City. Southwest plans to operate daily on all of the routes.

The flights will complement previously announced non-stop service between Houston Hobby and Aruba, which begins 7 March, says Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly today.

Southwest is targetting US leisure customers with the new routes, says Kelly, who was speaking at the Wings Club luncheon in New York.

Belize City will be Southwest’s second Central American destination after San Jose, and Belize will be the seventh country in its network. The airline announced earlier this year that it will serve San Jose from Baltimore/Washington from March 2015.

“Adding Belize to the Southwest network and growing our Costa Rica service continues our expansion to international destinations where our people and consumer-friendly policies can deliver as no other airline can,” says Kelly.

Southwest is investing in a new international facility at Houston Hobby, scheduled to open in the fall of 2015. The five-gate concourse will play a key role in Southwest’s international expansion. The airline is able to start the Aruba flights in March because the Aruba airport has US immigrations and customs pre-clearance facilities.

The airline will be the only carrier to operate on the new routes out of Houston Hobby, although United Airlines currently offers non-stop service to all six Latin American cities from Houston Intercontinental. Aeromexico also serves Mexico City non-stop from Intercontinental, and VivaAerobus also operates from Cancun to Intercontinental.

In 2015, Spirit Airlines will begin non-stop service from Houston Intercontinental to both Cancun and Los Cabos from 7 May. On 28 May, Spirit will launch non-stop service to San Jose from Intercontinental.

Southwest is asking that the DOT rescind the one of the two authorities held by United and its regional partners for the Houston-Los Cabos and Houston-Mexico City markets, its filing shows. Air service is limited to three carriers to Los Cabos and two to Mexico City from Houston until a new US-Mexico air services agreement is implemented in 2016.

Source: Cirium Dashboard