Southwest Airlines and Hobby Airport: 40 years together Monday was an important day in the history of Houston aviation. The date marked the 40th anniversary of Southwest Airlines moving into Hobby Airport. You have to realize that since 1969, the city-owned airport pretty much sat vacant as commercial air traffic moved over to the newer and larger Intercontinental Airport. Southwest Airlines operated out of IAH, too, but, as Bludworth says, Southwest was facing tough competition there from rivals Braniff and Texas International. So, on Nov. 14, 1971, the airline moved half of its operations to Hobby and initiated service from Houston to San Antonio, thereby completing the Texas triangle that also included Dallas. Since then, Southwest has continued to make Hobby Airport — the 41st busiest airport in the country for total passengers — its Houston home.