Business leaders from Aberdeen say a new direct flight from Manchester to Houston will deliver a major boost to the region’s economy.
Both parts of the world have strengths in sectors that will be key to driving growth in the region, including energy, life sciences and financial services.
Currently, more than 60,000 people from Scotland fly to Texas every year but have to travel indirectly via London or other overseas hubs.
Singapore Airlines will start flying direct from Manchester Airport to Houston from October 30 2016. It is the first ever direct service from the North to Houston and will be flag carrier’s first ever transatlantic service in the UK.
Some Granite city business people believe it deliver a benefit to the region.
Paul Rushton, managing director of oil and gas engineering business Magma Products, said:
“In our business we always have to think global. That’s why international connections are crucial – connections that enable us to develop new relationships, pitch for projects and win new contracts.
“Direct flights between Manchester and Houston represent a welcome new option for ambitious businesses, particularly energy-focused companies in Aberdeen and the north-east of England.
“Houston is one of the world’s key energy hubs and this new link can only be a strategic gain.”
Craig Dillard, partner at Saba (Scottish American Business Alliance) in Houston said: “Although the similarities and business connections between Houston and the United Kingdom are vast, travel between the two can often be an obstacle — particularly when travelling to Scotland or Northern England. When travelling for business, the old adage ‘time is money’ is particularly appropriate.
“At Saba we are constantly looking for ways to assist international companies from Scotland and the UK set up and do business in the United States.
“The new direct route from Manchester to Houston opens up Northern England and Scotland to the City of Houston, and vice versa.
“In addition to travelling across for the Offshore Technology Conference in May, this direct connection will make it easier to get to and do business with the companies in Houston and create new opportunities for the companies currently operating in northern England and Scotland”.
Sheldon Hee, Singapore Airlines, general manager of UK & Ireland said the five times weekly service on a Boeing 777-300 will “provide businesses with the most direct route to Texas and the growing markets of Asia via Singapore”.
Economy fares start from £415 with business class from £2,385.