United applies to be first US carrier to fly Houston to Tokyo-Haneda

United Flight Washington-Amsterdam Diverts to Halifax
Oliver Holzbauer, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
United Airlines has filed an application with the U.S. DOT for daily nonstop flights between Houston Bush Intercontinental and Tokyo Haneda.

United Airlines has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for daily nonstop flights between Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

If approved, United will become the first U.S. carrier to fly nonstop service between Houston and Haneda.

A Gateway to Tokyo


The historic move by United stands to bringing a myriad of advantages to the Southern U.S. region. Proposed daily nonstop flights from Houston to Haneda will enhance consumer options for Tokyo travel in 64 U.S. communities across 18 states.

United’s proposal aims to link 64 communities across the Southern U.S. directly to Haneda, opening up a gateway to Japan that goes beyond the conventional travel hubs.

This strategic initiative is poised to cater to the rapidly growing population in the Houston region, fostering not only business connections but also serving the needs of leisure travelers.

Photo: United Airlines

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A Shift in Market Dynamics

The current flight landscape to Haneda reveals a notable disparity among major U.S. markets.

While Houston currently has only one flight operated by a foreign carrier, other key cities like New York/Newark, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Dallas/Fort Worth boast multiple connections.

United’s proposed route seeks to address this imbalance, offering more options and flexibility for both business and leisure travelers.

United’s Commitment to Connectivity


Patrick Quayle, Senior Vice President, Global Network Planning and Alliances at United Airlines, emphasizes the pivotal role of Houston as a hub for both business and leisure travel.

He envisions this new service, if approved by the DOT, enhancing travel options for consumers across the Southern United States and strengthening economic partnerships with Japan.

As the largest airline in Houston, United plays a crucial role in the city’s economic ecosystem. With over 14,000 employees and more than 400 daily departures, including 70 international daily departures, United’s impact is substantial.

 A recent study by Compass Lexecon highlights the airline’s contribution, supporting an estimated $5.3 billion per year in gross domestic product in Texas.

Japan and Houston’s Symbiotic Relationship


Houston’s prominence in health care, manufacturing, and, notably, the energy industry, makes it a key player on the global stage.

The city’s recent designation as one of seven regional clean hydrogen hubs by the U.S. Department of Energy, with support from Japanese subsidiary Mitsubishi Power Americas, underscores the deepening ties between Houston and Japan.

The economic ties between Japan and Texas run deep. Japanese-owned companies directly employ over 70,000 workers in Texas, with Houston hosting more than 240 Japanese-affiliated companies.

With 53 Fortune 500 companies in Texas and 24 in Houston, the economic impact is palpable. Over the last decade, Japanese companies have invested $6.9 billion in Texas, creating 19,620 new jobs, showcasing the robust economic relationship.

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