HOUSTON (CBS Houston) Air China began a route of four weekly nonstop services between Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) in Beijing, China and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on Thursday.
The inaugural flight from Beijing, arrived just after 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon and was greeted by such dignitaries as Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
In fact, Mayor Parker also greeted the delegation from China, which was led by Ms. Yinxiang Wang, Co-Chairwoman of Air China Limited; Chinese Consul General for Texas and seven U.S. southern states and Puerto Rico, Ms. Erwen Xu; and, former Houston Rockets star and now Houston’s Honorary Goodwill Ambassador, Yao Ming.
Mayor Parker sees the new flights as a huge stepping stone to the city of Houston’s growing appeal as an international gateway of travel and culture: “Houston continues to enhance its position as a key global gateway and the arrival of Air China speaks volumes about the potential for even more growth in the future,” says Mayor Annise Parker. “The cultures and economies of Beijing and Houston continue to draw closer together than ever before and nonstop air service between the two cities will help both sides maximize the benefits associated with new partnerships and greater connectivity.”
Officials close to the endeavor also added that with the launch of the nonstop service, Houston becomes Air China’s fifth gateway in North America, as the nation’s fourth largest city joins the ranks of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Vancouver.
“Air China will operate inside Terminal D at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston’s gateway for all foreign carriers,” added officials.
Ms. Yinxiang Wang, Co-Chairwoman of Air China Limited echoed Mayor Parker’s sentiments and is thrilled to see such expansive air travel between Air China and Houston: “As the only airline that provides direct connection between Houston and the south central region of the United States and China via Beijing, we are honored to be the cultural, social and economic bridge between our two great destinations. This new service demonstrates Air China’s commitment to expanded connectivity for the mutual benefits of our countries and people,” Ms. Wang stated.
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