MIAMI — On July 11, 2013, the airline launched four weekly nonstop flights to Houston, making the city the newest Air China destination in the United States in more than thirty years. Earlier this week, they announced that they will upgrade the service to daily beginning March 30.
One year ago, Air China and the Houston Airport System announced plans to launch the new route between Beijing and Houston. Due to a high demand from local businesses in Houston and Beijing as well as tourism, the connection between these two cities made sense. After a 13 hour flight from Beijing on July 11, 2013, Air China flight 995 touched down at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Little did we know that flight 995 would begin Air China’s expansion in the United States.
“Strong demand from business and leisure travelers to China and destinations in Asia has accelerated the implementation of our growth strategy for Houston and the south central region of the United States,” Dr. Zhihang Chi, Air China’s Vice President for North America, says in a statement. “The additional flights will provide more options and flexibility to international travelers, allowing them to have more convenient connections to cities within China and beyond via our Beijing hub.”
Houston Airport System officials are very happy that the service is being upgraded. “We were very confident that the Houston-Beijing route would do well, primarily because of the strong economic and cultural ties that exist between the two destinations,” Houston Aviation Director Mario Diaz says in the statement. “We knew that the demand existed and we knew that Air China was capable of developing a strong, personal connection with the people of Houston.”
Houston is not the only U.S. city seeing upgrades or new service to Beijing. Beginning March 31, Air China will boost its frequency on its New York JFK routes from 11 flights per week to 14. Next week the airline will begin new nonstop flights from Honolulu on January 21, and in June, Washington Dulles.