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Houston Leaders Take Economic Message
to Turkey

May 1, 2013

Houston Mayor Annise Parker joins Zafer Caglayan, the Turkish Minister of Economy.

The Houston team gathers for a group photo during their visit to Istanbul.
© Houston Airport System
Houston Mayor Annise Parker recently led a high-level business delegation to the key gateway nation of Turkey, looking to discuss ways to strengthen economic ties between the two sites.

The trip, which ran from April 15 – 22, took place on the heels of a major announcement regarding nonstop air service between the two destinations.  Turkish Airlines, the national air carrier of Turkey, launched nonstop service between Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Istanbul, Turkey on April 1, 2013.

"Houston's strong business connections with Turkey created the opportunity to attract this foreign flag airline to our city," said Mayor Parker at the flight’s launch celebration. "Houston has become the gateway to the world.  Our global business structure helps our economy thrive and our job market remains the envy of the nation. These four new weekly flights will surely lead to increased economic opportunity for both Istanbul and Houston."

Looking to capitalize on the economic momentum created by the new nonstop flight, Mayor Parker joined Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz and other key representatives from the city for face to face meetings with Turkey’s Minister of Transport, H.E. Binali Yildirim, the nation’s Minister of Economy, H.E. Zafer Caglayan, and other leaders within the Turkish government.

“The arrival of Turkish Airlines to Houston not only brings another four-star carrier to George Bush Intercontinental Airport,” Diaz says. “It also gives our customers direct access to one of the most dynamic economic success stories on the global economic stage.”

Diaz is quick to point out that business and cultural ties between the two destinations are already stronger than many people realize. The annual trade value between Houston and Turkey is $3.6 billion and Houston represents Turkey’s second most active trade gateway in the United States.

Another factor contributing towards the route's expected success is the fact that Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance network. Houston’s most active carrier, United Airlines, is also a member of that alliance, which means that the two carriers will have multiple options in regards to exploring traffic flow options, highlighting IAH as a hub facility in the process. 
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