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April 7, 2011

  © Houston Airport System
  Houston delegation meets with Turkish Airlines executive.
The Houston Airport System is growing ties to one of the fastest growing countries in the world with hopes of launching new air service between Houston and Turkey.

From March 5-11, Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz discussed expanding trade and air service opportunities with numerous business and government officials to expand the potential of global trade.  The primary purpose of the visit was to further plans for a new direct air route between Houston and Istanbul.

The Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), the largest and primary business organization in Turkey, was essential in helping Diaz connect with high level government officials and corporate executives for the mission.

“Turkish Airlines has already expressed both privately and publicly that it is rapidly expanding its air route development in the U.S. with Houston being a priority destination,” said Diaz.

Currently, Turkish Airlines flies direct to New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.  Houston will be the airlines’ first Texas stop.  Turkish Airlines is a member of Star Alliance.

Turkey shares extensive business and cultural connections with the Houston region. More than 325 Houston companies report business or trade ties with the country. Turkey is an important business and financial leader in Europe and the Middle East. The country has experienced an average growth of six percent over the last decade.

In the last year, high level government officials and business executives have visited Houston five different times to explore trade and investment opportunities. Houston has enjoyed a sister-city relationship with Istanbul since 1986. There is a strong climate for both cultural and business connections. Turkey is an important energy importer located in a strategic area that is a magnet for investment.

The Turkey trip included business-to-business meetings with export organizations and perspective investors. Talks focused on a number of sectors for trade developments including energy, information technology, construction/infrastructure and textiles. Uniworld Business reports 134 firms – either headquarter or branch locales – in the Houston region operate 356 subsidiary locations in Turkey.

Last year, total trade between Houston and Turkey jumped 17.4 percent, from $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion. The Houston/Galveston Custom District ranks as Turkey’s second largest U.S. gateway for international trade and also is America’s second largest international seaborne trade partner. 
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