DALLAS — The Houston Airport System expects to begin expansion of Hobby Airport next spring using debt backed by Southwest Airlines as the discount carrier begins offering international flights.

Despite threats of layoffs at United Airlines’ Houston base, the Houston City Council last week approved the $100 million expansion of Hobby, the smaller of the city’s two airports. United, which includes the formerly Houston-based merger partner Continental Airlines, warned that it would be forced to reduce its workforce if Hobby expanded.

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