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Houston, Texas's first municipal airport is what is commonly referred to as Houston Hobby Airport. Acquired from the W. T. Carter Lumber Company by the city in 1937, the airport was opened to the public in 1938, under the name "Houston Municipal Airport." Its name has been several many times. Howard Hughes, a Houston native whose aviation exploits lead to a number of improvements to the airport, was honored in 1938 by having the airport renamed to "Howard Hughes Airport." Although the name "Howard Hughes Airport" continued to be its official honorary title, after 1940 it was commonly referred to simply as "Houston International Airport" after it s first international flight. Finally in 1967, Houston International Airport was renamed again to "William P. Hobby Airport", in honor of Texas's former governor.

In 1969, the city's growing needs lead to the opening of Houston Intercontinental Airport, now named George Bush intercontinental Airport. Initially scheduled commercial flights were transferred entirely to the new airport. But as air traffic outstripped even Bush Intercontinental's larger capacity during the 1970s, airlines began to schedule more flights at Hobby. Southwest was the first to do so when it used Hobby as a hub for its interstate flights in 1971 and has continued to expand its Hobby use ever since.

Today Hobby is Houston's second largest airport. In 2001, 8.6 million passengers were served and Hobby is the 41st busiest airport in the US for total passengers.