Turkish Airlines is launching four-times-weekly service between Istanbul and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport on April 1, 2013. The airline will operate the new...

Turkish Airlines is launching four-times-weekly service between Istanbul and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IATA code IAH) on April 1, 2013.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced the new Turkish Airlines service between Istanbul Atatürk International Airport (IST) and Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Turkish Airlines will operate the new route with Boeing 777-300ER widebodies, which in the carrier’s seating configuration seat up to 334 passengers. Based at Atatürk International Airport, Turkish Airlines serves more than 190 destinations and carries 33 million passengers annually.

Boeing delivered Turkish Airlines' first directly purchased 777-300ER on October 13, 2010. The carrier had previously leased five 777-300ERs from India's Jet Airways on an interim basis. The aircraft delivered in October 2010 was the first of 12 Boeing 777-300ERs ordered from Boeing from 2009 and served as the platform for introducing Turkish Airlines’ new 'Comfort Class' cabin for the first time. Turkish Airlines now has all 12 directly ordered 777-300ERs in service and must be considered a likely prospect for additional 777-300ER orders as it continues to grow

“Houston’s strong business connections with Turkey created the opportunity to attract this foreign flag airline to our city,” said Mayor Parker. “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.”

The Turkish Consulate General in Houston and a number of Houston community organizations worked closely with the Houston Airport System to attract the new Turkish Airlines service. Among the organizations which worked to secure the new service were the Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Houston Partnership and the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Zaglayan’s support was also instrumental in promoting the opportunity for the service, according to the Houston Airport System, which operates Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport.

“The Istanbul direct flights operated by Turkish Airlines will be essential in our endeavors to further develop relations at all levels and fields in business, trade and investment relations between Turkey and Texas,” said Turkish Consul General Cemalettin Aydin.

“The total Houston to Turkey trade value in 2011 was $3.6 billion,” said Celil Yaka, president of the Texas Turkish American Chamber of Commerce. “We anticipate this trade will continue to grow significantly thanks to this new flight.”

“This flight will open up more convenient travel options to both Turkey and beyond points, in particular, those in South/Central Asia and Africa,” noted said Mario Diaz, director of the Houston Airport System.

Turkish Airlines’ schedule for the Istanbul-Houston service calls for flights on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Outbound, the flight will depart IST at 1:05 p.m. and arrive at IAH at 6:05 p.m. local time. Taking into account the eight-hour time difference between Istanbul and Houston, the schedule calls for the flight to take 13 hours from gate to gate.

In the other direction, the Turkish Airlines flight will leave IAH at 7:50 p.m. and land at IST at 3:55 p.m. the next day, local time, with the flight scheduled to take 12 hours 5 minutes from gate to gate.

The flights are available for booking in the Turkish Airlines reservation system at www.turkishairlines.com.

Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which is the dominant airline network at Bush Intercontinental Airport, the largest single hub for the Star Alliance.

The Houston Airport System (HAS) served almost 50 million passengers in 2011. Houston’s three airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby (HOU) and Ellington Airport (EFD) contribute more than $27.5 billion to the regional economy. IAH is the seventh busiest airport in the United States.

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