United Airlines has submitted a groundbreaking application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for daily nonstop flights between Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND). If approved, United will become the first U.S. carrier to offer direct flights on this route, linking 64 destinations across the southern United States to Tokyo—an area accounting for 21 percent of all U.S. mainland travel to the Asian metropolis.
Houston currently has only one flight to Haneda, while other major cities like New York/Newark, Los Angeles, and Chicago have multiple options. United’s proposed route aims to enhance travel options for consumers across the Southern United States, fostering economic growth and strengthening the existing partnership between Japan and the 240 affiliated businesses in the greater Houston area.
Patrick Quayle, Senior Vice President, Global Network Planning and Alliances at United Airlines, emphasized the significance of Houston as a critical hub for both business and leisure travel. With the city’s growing population and thriving energy and innovation sectors, the new nonstop service would not only bridge the gap between the two locations but also contribute to the economic ties that Houston shares with Japan. Japanese-owned companies directly employ over 70,000 people in Texas, with Houston alone hosting over 240 Japanese-affiliated businesses.
This initiative marks a significant milestone for United Airlines and could potentially reshape travel options for passengers in the Southern United States while deepening economic ties between the two regions.