HOUSTON -

There will soon be a way to get from Houston to China without a layover.

Air China announced Tuesday that, pending government approval, it will offer non-stop service from George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Beijing.

"With its vibrant business communities and fast-growing diverse population, Houston is a perfect choice for an additional gateway for Air China," said Dr. Zhihang Chi, Air China's vice president and general manager for North America. "It offers the most convenient connections to China and beyond for our passengers from Texas and other neighboring states."

"This new direct route to China will ensure our success in growing the Texas regional economy and strengthen the global ties to our trade partners in China," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said.

If approved, Air China would begin round-trip flights on Boeing 777-300ER planes on July 11. Flights will depart from and arrive at Terminal D. There will be four flights per week.

"We've seen a steady growth of air travel between Houston and China in recent years, and now it will become the first scheduled passenger destination in the U.S. that we’ve added in three decades," said Jianjiang Cai, Air China's president and executive director.

Air China also offers non-stop flights from New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.