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Houston Aims to Grow Asian Service

Trade mission visits multiple airlines in three countries

September 1, 2011

© Houston Airport System
Houston aviation director Mario C. Diaz and Ma Xiuhong, deputy director of foreign affairs of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Chair of China Foreign Trade Center (WTO) and the former vice minister of commerce.

Houston Airports continue to push for additional non-stop air service to Asia.  Top executives took this message directly to airline decision makers in China, South Korea and Taiwan.

“Establishing new routes to Asian destinations is a top priority for Houston,” says Houston aviation director Mario C. Diaz. “Asia is a market with virtually unlimited growth potential and we need to make sure that strong connectivity is firmly in place between our two regions.”

Diaz and other Houston representatives recently completed a 10-day trade mission, targeting a variety of destinations in Asia.  The itinerary first took them to Beijing, China and then to Seoul, South Korea, and Taipei, Taiwan.  (Click here to view Taiwanese news coverage regarding the Houston delegation's visit.)

At each stop, the delegation met with key decision makers to present the case that new air service to Houston would be a solid business decision.

“Business and political leaders in the Far East are not always aware of the strong Asian influence in Houston,” says Ian Wadsworth, deputy director of commercial development for the Houston Airports. “Part of our job is to make sure they understand that Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the world and one of the best markets in the U.S.”

In August, Houston received good news that China Airlines Cargo is adding a second weekly flight to its Taipei route schedule.  This demonstrates that Houston is a valued market for Asian airlines.
Houston already has the highest Asian population in Texas, with one in five foreign-born Houstonians coming from Asia. According to data from the 2010 census, six percent of Houston’s citizens classify themselves as Asian and more than 90 languages are spoken throughout the Houston area.  

Houston Mayor Annise Parker recognizes this strong Asian influence in Houston and has made expanded air service to the Far East a key component of her overall growth strategy.  The Mayor not only mentioned the subject in her most recent State of the City Address, but has personally flown overseas in an effort to push the Houston agenda forward.

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