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International Travel Continues to Climb

February 7, 2013

© Houston Airport System
International travel at IAH has increased by more than 54 percent over the past 10 years.
The number of international travelers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) continued to grow in 2012, with an additional 130,000 passengers passing through the gates over the totals recorded in the previous year.

More than 8.7 million passengers traveled on international flights at IAH in 2012, the highest total ever recorded in the 43 year history of the airport.

“Houston’s reputation as a global gateway city is becoming stronger and stronger,” says Ian Wadsworth, the Houston Airport System’s chief commercial officer. “Businesses around the world are recognizing that fact, along with the international air carriers, and that’s translating into strong growth trends at IAH.”

Those growth trends are even more impressive when expanding the scope to include a more broad view of the international traffic numbers.

For example, over the past five years, international traffic at IAH has increased 10 percent, adding approximately 1 million passengers during that time frame.

The 10-year snapshot shows remarkable overall growth in Houston’s international travel scene. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of international passengers at IAH went from 5.6 million to the current 8.7 million, an increase of 54.6 percent.

The growth trends during that period covered virtually every geographic region available to IAH passengers. The increases were especially strong for travel to destinations involving Canada and Central/South America. Those two regions posted increases of 97 percent and 67 percent respectively.

“The 10-year snapshot represents a remarkable period of growth occurring in a relatively short period of time,” Wadsworth says. “One of our key goals at the Houston Airport System is to maximize the global opportunities available to the city of Houston. We have a great deal of momentum behind us in that regard and there are several reasons to be optimistic about the future as well.”

Specifically, Wadsworth cites the 2013 arrivals of both Air China and Turkish Airlines as reasons for his high level of optimism, as well as existing plans calling for the establishment of international travel at William P. Hobby Airport. 
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