Air China, the exclusive national flag carrier for the People’s Republic of China, begins its four weekly nonstop services between Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) in Beijing, China and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas today.
The inaugural flight from Beijing, CA 995, arrived at 3:40 this afternoon to a Texas-sized welcome which included a traditional water cannon salute. Houston Mayor Annise Parker was on hand to greet the delegation from China 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.
“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.”
With the launch of the nonstop service, Houston becomes Air China’s fifth gateway in North America, joining 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.
“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.
Houston and Beijing have enjoyed a strong relationship for several decades. China’s paramount leader, the late Deng Xiaoping, visited Houston during his historic trip to the United States in 1979.
“The entire Houston region will benefit from this new Air China flight, both economically and from a cultural standpoint,” says Houston Aviation Director Mario Diaz. “Four weekly nonstop flights between the two destinations will not only strengthen the business ties between Houston and Beijing but will also enhance the level of cultural enrichment and exchange that already exists between these two dynamic cities.”
Air China will operate the nonstop flights, CA 996, from Houston to Beijing on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, departing at 1:00 AM local time and arriving in Beijing at 4:50 AM local time, next day. The chart below shows the schedule of the new service.