Colorful Chinese dancers were on hand for the city's announcement.
Plans call for Air China to offer four nonstop flights a week between Houston and Beijing. That adds up to about 1,200 seats. Houston Mayor Annise Parker expects a lot of those seats will be filled.
"Five hundred Houston companies report doing business in China."
Houston will become Air China's fifth gateway in North America. It currently flies out of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver.
Air China's Vice President Zhihang Chi says they chose Houston because of strong international business ties along with a growing Asian population. He says Air China will be able to provide expedient service:
"That can satisfy a wide variety of travel needs."
And Airport System Director Mario Diaz says the new direct flights give Houston the chance to position itself as a major gateway to the Far East.
He wants to see the city maximize that opportunity.
"We will continue to assist the advanced training of our aviation counterparts in China."
Pending government approval, those flights are set to begin July 11.