Once completed, the five-gate facility will accommodate regional international flights for Southwest, with services to the Caribbean, Mexico and the northern cities of South America.
Houston Mayor, Annise Parker, commented: “Establishing international air service at William P Hobby Airport will benefit Houston passengers in a variety of different ways, including increasing competition, boosting the local economy and strengthening the ties that already exist with our friends in Latin America.
“And perhaps the best news of all, it comes at no expense to the Houston taxpayer.”
The facility is Southwest’s first international terminal in its 43-year history.
A 2012 study commissioned by the Houston Airport System indicated that the terminal will generate more than 10,000 jobs and will provide an economic impact of $1.6bn, bringing in around one million additional passengers to Hobby Airport.
The project, fully funded by the carrier, includes a five-gate international terminal, expansion of the existing security checkpoint and upgrades to the Southwest check-in area.
Houston Airport System will itself invest in a new multi-level car park and improvements to the roadway system.
The first international flights out of Hobby’s new terminal are expected in late 2015.