United Airlines has submitted a request to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) seeking approval for daily non-stop flights connecting Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND).
If approved, United will become the first US carrier to fly non-stop services between Houston and Haneda.
United states that this new route will benefit the Houston region’s rapidly growing population, more than 240 Japanese-affiliated companies, as well as consumers living in communities across the Southern US.
The flights will connect 64 communities across the Southern US to Haneda and represent roughly 575,000 annual Tokyo bookings or 21 per cent of all US mainland to Tokyo demand.
While Houston has only one flight to Haneda (operated by a foreign carrier), New York/Newark has five, Los Angeles has seven, Chicago has three, and Washington, D.C. and Dallas/Fort Worth each have two.
United states that its new route will deliver more parity among major markets, while providing needed seats and travel flexibility to business and leisure travellers alike.
Patrick Quayle, senior vice president, global network planning and alliances at United Airlines, said: “Between its steadily growing population and its booming energy and innovation sectors, the Houston area has transformed into a critical hub for both business and leisure travel.
“If awarded by the DOT, this new service will enhance travel options to Tokyo Haneda for consumers across the Southern United States, and strengthen the economic partnership between Japan and more than 240 affiliated businesses in the greater Houston area.”
Operating the world’s most comprehensive route network of any US airline, United states it has worked diligently to develop a Japanese network to promote competition and provide affordable and consistent service options for US travellers.
United’s Tokyo service currently spans all of the airline’s seven US hubs and includes multiple flights to each of Haneda and Narita airports.
With more than 14,000 employees and more than 400 daily departures, including over 70 international daily departures, United is the largest airline in Houston.
According to a new study by Compass Lexecon, United‘s IAH hub and spending by foreign visitors to Houston on United and Star Alliance member flights support an estimated $5.3 billion per year in gross domestic product in Texas and in 2022 United’s direct employment in Houston contributed $1.2 billion to economic activity.
Houston is a major centre of commerce for health care, manufacturing, and, chiefly, the energy industry. Through its role as an energy powerhouse, the city of Houston and the state of Texas have developed important economic ties with Japan.
In October, Houston was selected by the US Department of Energy as one of seven regional clean hydrogen hubs, and the city’s bid was made with support from Japanese subsidiary Mitsubishi Power Americas.
Altogether, Japanese-owned companies directly employ over 70,000 workers in Texas, including over 240 Japanese-affiliated companies in Houston.
Furthermore, Texas is home to 53 Fortune 500 companies with 24 located in the immediate Houston vicinity.
According to the Texas Development Corporation, over the last decade, Japanese companies recorded 119 investment projects in Texas that are responsible for $6.9 billion in capital investment and 19,620 new jobs.
Conversely, Texas companies recorded 25 investment projects in Japan, responsible for $799 million in capital investment and 1,667 new jobs.
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