IAH to soon offer more international destinations

HOUSTON - Flying to more places around the globe will soon be easier with more nonstop flights from George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

George Lancaster lives in Houston and flies more than 150,000 miles each year. He said new long-haul routes, including one being offered by Turkish Airlines, will make his work and personal life much easier.

"I think it definitely opens your eyes to new possibilities, especially with all the loyalty programs," Lancaster said. "I go to Greece every summer and Istanbul is a great way to get there, so I definitely would look at that flight."

The Houston Airport System has worked for months to bring two new airlines that will offer more international destinations.

Turkish Airlines is offering nonstop service to Istanbul beginning April 1. Air China is offering a direct flight to Beijing beginning July 11. United Airlines will add a third nonstop flight to London's Heathrow Airport beginning April 1.

"It really gives the citizens of the city of Houston many, many more options," said Mario Diaz of the Houston Airport System.

Turkish Airlines chose Houston for its new route because of the city's strong economic ties with Turkey. In 2011, trade value between Houston and Turkey topped $3 billion. As of Friday, round-trip flights could be found for under $600.

Airport officials said Air China and Turkish Airlines are part of Star Alliance, which means passengers will be able to connect onto United flights with a single-ticket purchase, making the experience that much easier.

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