HOUSTON -

Scandinavian Airlines is now connecting Houston with Stavanger, Norway, through nonstop air service.

Wednesday's inaugural flight featured the Boeing Business Jet which has a Long Haul Business Class concept on board, with just 44 comfortable business seats, in-flight entertainment and full-service meals. The route will be available six days a week, with the exception of Tuesdays.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker will celebrate the arrival of SAS on Aug. 22 by utilizing the new air service herself, flying from Bush Intercontinental Airport to the Scandinavian region in order to take part in a major oil exhibition.

"Scandinavian Airlines is establishing a key route for the Houston market and they're doing so in a unique manner," said Parker. "This aircraft is specifically designed to accommodate the needs of the business traveler, a concept that should resonate well with passengers located throughout the Houston region."

The move is expected to significantly strengthen the economic and cultural ties that already exist between two leading players within the oil and gas industry.

"The route we have established is a tailored product for a defined market with particular travel needs," said Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS. "The favorable timetable provides excellent connections throughout Scandinavia in both directions, while Houston is a hub for connections to the south and west such as Mexico, Los Angeles, Dallas and Phoenix with the Star Alliance."

The arrival of Scandinavian Airlines is the latest exciting news to hit one of the fastest growing regions anywhere in the world.

"Houston's dynamic economy and diverse population are combining to create some amazing opportunities for the Houston Airport System," said Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz. "Our goal is to connect the people, business, cultures and economies of the world to Houston and the arrival of Scandinavian Airlines is a significant step forward in reaching that goal."

The flight departs Houston at 9:35 p.m., arriving the next day in Stavanger at 2.20 p.m. Departures from Stavanger are scheduled for 4 p.m., arriving into Houston at 7:40 p.m. the same day.

Scandinavian Airlines will be the only airline with nonstop service between Scandinavia and Houston.