On January 15 at the Julia Ideson Library downtown, Air China held one of the most memorable press conferences in recent years to announce new non-stop service from Beijing to Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport starting July 13 2013. Dr. Zhihang Chi, Air China's Vice President and General Manager for North America, was joined by Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Chinese Consul General Erwen Xu, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D TX 18) and dozens of official guests to underscore this historic development for Houston and the Airline.
The conference began with a reception and a ceremonial dance of traditional mythological animals and drums.
For the last 30 years, Air China, the world's largest carrier, found it sufficient to serve only the east and west coasts of the USA. In the interim, Houston has become China's 10th largest US trading partner, in addition to enjoying one of the strongest and most dynamic economies and over 600 Chinese communities. The new service will make Houston the gateway service point between China and the central and southern USA, attesting to Houston's reputation as a cultural and commercial destination.
The new service will feature the new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft beginning July 11, 2013 and flying 4 times a week initially. Flights will leave Beijing at 3 PM local time and arrive in Houston the same day (Houston time) at 3:30 PM). Return flights will leave Houston at 1:40 AM and arrive in Beijing at 5:00 AM local time the following day.