Air China said this week it will begin new nonstop service between Beijing and Houston Bush Intercontinental in July.

The new route, which is pending federal approval, will significantly improve access between Houston and China. Plans call for four flights a week on Boeing 777-300ER jets. China-bound flights will leave Houston at 1:40 a.m. and land in Beijing at 5 a.m. the next day. The return flight will leave Beijing at 3 p.m. and land in Houston at 3:30 p.m. on the same day.

"We've seen a steady growth of air travel between Houston and China in recent years, and now it will become the first scheduled passenger destination in the U.S. that we've added in three decades," says Air China President Jianjiang Cai.

Houston will be Air China's fifth destination in North America, joining Los Angeles, New York JFK, San Francisco and Vancouver.

Service is slated to begin July 11, 2013. 

Click here for the full press release.