New nonstop Tokyo-Houston flight launches

The inaugural flight of Japan-based All Nippon Airways’ newest route from Tokyo’s Narita Airport to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) arrives in Houston on June 12.

The Houston Airport System will welcome a new nonstop international flight on June 12.

The inaugural flight of Japan-based All Nippon Airways’ newest route from Tokyo’s Narita Airport to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) will arrive in Houston at 9:30 a.m.

Officials from ANA, the city of Houston, United Airlines and the Greater Houston Partnership, along with the consul-general of Japan in Houston, will welcome the flight. Ceremonies will include a Taiko Japanese drum performance and a gift exchange between ANA and the city of Houston honoring Texas and Japanese culture.

IAH saw record levels of international air travel last year and expects the 2014 total to be even higher, according to the Houston Airport System. Asia represents the fastest-growing region for international travel at IAH.

Among several new international flights added in recent years, Chicago-based United Airlines (NYSE: UAL), ANA’s joint venture partner, added its second daily flight from Houston to Tokyo earlier last year.

IAH saw a 9.2 percent increase in international travelers to more than 9.8 million in 2014, and its combined passenger total, including international and domestic travelers, was up 3.6 percent to 41.2 million last year. Both figures are record highs for the airport’s 46-year history.

William P. Hobby Airport, which also saw record-high passenger traffic in 2014, will soon add international flights as well. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. is nearing completion on its international terminal at Hobby, and other airlines are already expressing interest in the terminal.

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