Monday, December 15, 2014

Houston adds two new airlines in two weeks

Last week, the Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) announced that they would begin daily nonstop service between Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport and Tokyo's Narita International Airport, starting next June. This service, when implemented, would be in addition to United's existing daily nonstop between Houston and the Japanese capital.* As United and ANA are both Star Alliance members, these services appear to be designed to complement each other and feed into each other's networks.

Today, it was announced that Taiwanese carrier EVA Air will begin service between IAH and Taipei's Taoyuan International airport. This service, also set to begin in June, would initially operate three times a week and expand to four flights a week in July. EVA Air is also a member of Star Alliance.

This will add Taiwan to Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul and Singapore (via Moscow) on the list of East Asian/Pacific Rim cities accessible from Houston by either a nonstop or direct flight. As I've said before and will say again, this can only be a good thing for Houston and its economy. What city will be next? Bangkok? Kuala Lumpur?

Meanwhile at the city's other airport, Southwest has announced that it has filed applications to fly to Cancun, Los Cabos, Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Belize City, Belize from Hobby Airport beginning next year. As the article notes, the services to Mexico are subject to a complicated agreement between the United States and Mexico regarding the number of carriers that can fly between US and Mexican city pairs.

Southwest already plans to fly between Hobby and Aruba once every Saturday starting in March, which would be the first international service from that airport since Intercontinental opened in 1969. The service can begin before Hobby's international terminal is finished because Aruba's Queen Beatrix airport has US Customs preclearance facilities.

(*Last year United announced that they were implementing a second daily nonstop between Houston and Tokyo, but I can only find one flight per day in their online booking interface.)

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