Another major US air carrier has added Belize to its list of destination, and industry observers say it could drive down prices because it's a discount carrier.
Southwest Airlines will begin nonstop service out of Houston's Hobby airport to Belize starting October 2015.
Southwest today announced that it has filed applications to begin service to six new destinations, four in Mexico and two in Central America: Belize and Costa Rica.
A release from the BTB calls it a "game-changer."
Southwest Airlines to add Belize flights
Southwest Airlines today said it plans to begin flights to tropical Belize next fall as part of its continuing international expansion.
The flights, which are subject to government approval, will be offered between Houston and Belize City.
It will be Southwest's second destination in Central America, where the airline has already announced plans to fly to Costa Rica from Baltimore beginning in March.
Southwest plans to offer connecting flights to Belize from other cities, including Phoenix. No airlines offer non-stop flights between Phoenix Sky Harbor International and Belize, a popular scuba diving spot whose attractions include Hol Chan Marine Reserve, home to Shark Ray Alley.
Tickets to Belize won't go on sale until the airline receives approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate the route. The service is scheduled to begin in October.
Southwest, which is building its first international terminal at Houston's Hobby Airport, also said it plans to offer flights between Houston and Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City as well as Costa Rica.
Southwest began international flights in July. The airline's initial routes were flights previously operated by AirTran Airways, which the airline acquired in 2011.
Southwest Plans to Begin Flights to Belize
Southwest Airlines expects to begin flights to Belize City next year as it expands international service.
The airline said Thursday that it will fly to Belize from Houston beginning next October.
Southwest said that it also plans to fly to four destinations in Mexico ? Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos ? and to San Jose, Costa Rica, from a new international concourse being built at Houston's Hobby Airport. Southwest needs federal government approval for the flights.
The plan puts Southwest in head-to-head competition with United Airlines, which flies to all those locations from Houston's larger airport, Bush Intercontinental. Low-fare rival Spirit Airlines has announced that it will begin flying several of the same routes in May.
Southwest has taken over flights to Mexico and the Caribbean that were operated by AirTran Airways, which Southwest bought in 2011 and is now shutting down. AirTran's last flight will be Dec. 28. International flights represent only about 1 percent of Southwest's operation, far less than at United, Delta and American.
Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. were up 67 cents to $42.15 in afternoon trading Thursday. They have doubled this year.