Making news in the last couple of months around D/FW is the progress in the proposed Dallas-Houston high speed rail. With that in mind, could this expansion to North Houston be a move to either hurt the rails progress or prepare for when it opens? Southwest has for years lobbied against high speed from Dallas to Houston since they have such high frequencies, so perhaps that is a bigger factor in going back to IAH than anything to do with UA.
The PDEW's on DAL-HOU have generally been decreasing year after year in the last 14 years, even prior to the repeal of the Wright Amendment on October 13, 2014. In addition, WN is also carrying far fewer passengers on DAL-HOU nonstop flights in the last 7 months than it did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Passengers can also get to the other WN destinations in the contiguous U.S. from HOU on WN without connecting through DAL, either nonstop or connecting through other cities.
There will still be a market for DAL-HOU nonstop service after the Texas Central Railway starts high-speed rail service between Dallas and Houston due to
(a) WN still having some O&D traffic on DAL-HOU nonstop flights after Texas Central Railway starts high-speed service between Dallas and Houston,
(b) connections to CRP and HRL in South Texas from DAL (and vice versa), and
(c) connections to international destinations in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean from DAL.
WN was also maxed out at DAL prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and WN can add daily nonstop service to additional destinations out of DAL or increase frequencies on other nonstop routes out of DAL if WN reduces frequencies on DAL-HOU/IAH nonstop service after Texas Central Railway begins high-speed rail service between Dallas and Houston.
JL and NH also both still maintain a significant amount of nonstop service between HND in Tokyo and ITM in Osaka, even with both Tokyo and Osaka being connected via the Tokaido Shinkansen.