Topic Author
Posts: 164
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2004 9:02 am


Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:05 pm

A tale of two Texas airports. Houston is bigger than Dallas, but Dallas / Ft. Worrth metroplex is slightly bigger than greater Houston. Both have a secondary airport (but DAL is impacted by the Wrong amendment) and a mega hub for a US major. Will DFW prevail with AA (some competition from Delta and ValueJet / AirTran) or will IAH with CO and no competition be the hub of Texas?
Posts: 503
Joined: Thu May 31, 2001 9:33 am


Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:40 pm

What do you mean by prevail?

I think that DFW airport will always be bigger and busier because of its location. IAH is too far south to be a convenient connection point for many people. DFW is at a perfect location, and as you said the DFW metroplex area is bigger.

Houston's growing faster though, so in 20 years who knows?
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Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:43 pm

Old debate. Short answer: for domestic travel, DFW will still be king. For international travel, IAH will continue to hold a slight but definite edge.

Two airlines consider DFW a hub. DL is a bit arguable, but they still have a significant operation there. With AirTran expanding, DFW will only grow. In addition, DFW's new International Terminal D could possibly attract a new international carrier or two, increasing its overall image.

IAH is about to complete an international terminal expansion of its own, but due to its location and tenants, it will never be a DFW. CO is about half the size of AA in terms of flights and aircraft. With numbers like that, there is no way that IAH will ever reach DFW's size or status unless it could attract another hub carrier (very doubtful). With DL and AA controlling DFW, IAH can't even think of becoming the airport that DFW is.

That being said, due to the nature of Houston's business community and a lack of other CO hubs in the South, IAH will probably continue to serve more international destinations and carriers than DFW. Houston's businesses are much more linked with the rest of the world than Dallas's. Look at Shell, Exxon(technically HQed in Dallas, but the big operation is in Houston), ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, etc. etc. IAH already has more London flights than DFW, and it has flights to AMS and other international destinations that DFW doesn't. It also has Air France, KLM, Air Jamaica, and more BA service. Its proximity to Mexico and Latin America also helps its international status. With a hub at MIA, AA can route its Latin American traffic there instead of through DFW. CO has no other hub from which it can effectively serve these routes. That's why CO is the largest US carrier to Mexico, and the second-largest to Latin America.

That's the state of things in the Lone Star State, and I doubt things will change anytime soon. Heated rivalry between the two cities, of course, but overall it's great for Texas.
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Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:43 pm

IAH is too far south to be a convenient connection point for many people

Unless you were coming from Latin/South America, then it would be a more convienent connection point.

That being said, how well DFW does versus IAH really depends on the health of the dominant carrier at each, AA at DFW and CO at IAH.
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Fri Feb 13, 2004 2:41 am

IAH is too far south to be a convenient connection point for many people

The airports are only 30 minues flying time apart; does it really make much of a difference? One great thing about DFW is that it is within 4 hours flight time of anywhere in North America.

I personally like DFW better because the layout of the runways and terminals makes more sense logically. I can't wait until the new tram system is complete and then you can access any terminal from the secure side!
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Fri Feb 13, 2004 5:01 am

DFW serves Dallas, Forth Worth, American and Delta. IAH serves Houston and Continental. Neither can do the other's job. Why get into some sort of tinkling match about which is bigger, better or the "hub of Texas?"
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Posts: 649
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Fri Feb 13, 2004 8:38 am

Fox you're absolutely right but this is an ongoing, relentless battle between the residents of Dallas and Houston that won't ever go away. You'd have to live in one of the cities or in Texas to understand the magnitude of it.
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Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:22 am

Personally I think the DFW is more efficient. It can land like 6 planes at the same time and with multiple security checkpoints and checkin areas at each terminal it makes the overall airport experience better. In addition AA does offer more options from DFW than CO at IAH (I think, correct me if I'm wrong).

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Fri Feb 13, 2004 10:08 am


DFW is more efficient for O&D, maybe (seems debateable, it never takes me more than 5-10 minutes to go through security at terminal C at IAH), but you've obviously never had the displeasure of connecting at DFW and having to walk from one end of one terminal to the end of another terminal in 20 minutes to catch your flight.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy Plus, with IAH's new runways, three planes can land and two can take off simultaneously, so there never seems to be a huge wait anymore.
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Fri Feb 13, 2004 10:13 am

It depends on what you mean by "options." DFW offers far more flights but IAH offers more service to Europe and Mexico with a few more carriers - KLM, AF, extra British Airways flights and Air Jamaica and maybe another smaller South American carrier. DFW has Korean Air 3x weekly and I believe it's now 13 flights per week to Tokyo while IAH only has Tokyo service (10x weekly?). I could go on and on.

Both cities are major throughways for South American flights and get alot of transfer pax. In my mind, I don't think DFW has done a very good job of attracting Oneworld carriers to the airport to feed/feed off of AA's megahub but IAH is positioned pretty well if CO is to join Skyteam, with KLM and AF already serving the airport and especially the KLM flights doing well. You also must consider that IAH is the only major hub for CO aside from Newark, which is mainly a European gateway for the airline. So alot runs through IAH. DFW is one of three major AA hubs that all have their own "place" - MIA is definitely a Oneworld gateway and the preeminent gateway to/from South America in the US, ORD is another good Oneworld hub and gateway to Europe, and DFW is the major domestic player with also a good number of international flights to/from South America and to 4 major cities in Europe and then Tokyo.

So it's just like comparing the two cities - you really can't cuz they're different animals and serve different purposes, really. But I still like arguing with Houstonianites about it.
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Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 7:46 am


Fri Feb 13, 2004 10:16 am

COFan- I have connected in DFW going from A19 to C22 (long). It actually wasn't that bad. Plus with the NEW trains about to be finished the process will be a lot easier.

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Fri Feb 13, 2004 12:47 pm

I have flown into both airports numerous times. I like both airports, however I prefer DFW. DFW seemed a bit cleaner and more spacious than IAH. As far as location DFW is between Dallas and Fr. Worth which is convenient. IAH is located on the north side of Houston that isnt to convenient but I would rather drive the extra miles than fly into HOU.


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