United: Hobby expansion will lead to job losses

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by Doug Miller / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 31, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 1 at 10:15 AM

HOUSTON – United Airlines says now that the Hobby Airport expansion has been approved, it will be forced to cut more than a thousand jobs and 10 percent of its flights at Bush Airport.

KHOU 11 News went to the campus of the University of Houston and asked a couple of independent experts what they make of what’s going on with United.

“We’re talking a very small increase in service overall from Southwest—in three years.  So job loss now doesn’t necessarily relate in any way, shape or form to what Southwest is doing,” said Darren Bush, an airline industry expert who’s testified before Congress.

He’s particularly struck that United is now cutting plans to fly from Houston to New Zealand.

“There’s no threat to Aukland, New Zealand,” he said.

Steven Craig is an economist who thinks United’s just trying to put blame on Houston for some of the airline’s problems.

“A PR stunt like waiting until today to announce the cuts, that I assume that they were planning to do anyway, is more political behavior of an airline than we’re used to seeing,” he said.

Craig said he figures any job losses at United will probably be balanced out by job gains at Southwest.

Whatever happens, we’re about to see the effect of more competition in the skies over Houston.

               

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