Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-to-late 2013 with an opening of the five international gates and customs facility in late 2015.
Other aspects of the deal:
- Southwest will design and build the project.
- Southwest will comply with city goals to hire minority and women contractors and preference for local firms.
- Southwest controls four of the five gates as long as they conduct at least four departures and four arrivals daily on each gate.
- The deal can be changed by whatever lease agreement the city and Southwest negotiate by the time the current lease expires in June 2015.
- If the two sides can’t agree on what’s known as Project Definition Manual — which covers specifications and other details — or a new lease, Southwest doesn’t have to build.
The city has also released a new report bolstering its support of the deal.
Transportation and aviation experts, Drs. Carol Abel Lewis and Charles R. Glass of Texas Southern University (TSU) reviewed the independent economic impact studies commissioned by the Houston Airport System (HAS) as well as the opposing report prepared by United Airlines. It is their conclusion that the preponderance of the available evidence of impact on jobs, airfares and passenger volumes supports the recommendation to allow SWA to proceed with its proposal.
“While we believe the independent study the City commissioned was solidly based and built on other studies done around the United States and worldwide, I concluded that it would be helpful to this process to have a peer review of our own independent study and the ones presented by United and Southwest,” said Mayor Parker. “This peer review was done totally independent of the airlines involved and used the material provided by our own studies and the material provided by the Airlines.”
I have asked for a copy of or link to this report and will post it when I get it.
UPDATE: Here’s the TSU report. I promise, I’ll try to get Tiffany to analyze all of this.