From princes to prime ministers, a look at how Houston Airports manages international relations
October 27, 2022

The ease of COVID-19 travel restrictions means an increase in international travel, especially among dignitaries and other global leaders. In September, Houston Airports welcomed more than 100 VIP’s. The visits make sense. Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States and is widely considered the most diverse city in the country. After all, city leaders confirm more than 140 languages are spoken among more than 7.3 million residents in the Houston region.

The International Relations team for Houston Airports provides a guest’s first impression of Houston’s famously warm hospitality. From coordinating with federal law enforcement partners to literally rolling out a red carpet, airport employees develop and maintain effective communication with government entities and officials, business and civic groups and airlines.  

“We pride ourselves on our open and friendly ‘Houston’ attitude which embraces and welcomes new friendships and collaborations around the world,” said Scott Alexander, Director of International Relations and Facilitations for Houston Airports. 

September’s list of special international guests reads like a United Nations all-star lineup. Presidents from Guatemala, Botswana and Argentina touched down in H-Town for important work. A minister from Taiwan landed at Bush Airport to tackle bilateral finance initiatives and a delegation from the Netherlands did their best to acclimate to the heat during their visit to Houston.    

Prime Ministers from Belize and the Republic of Korea landed in Houston too. The reasons why are so Houston. As the Energy Capital of the World, nearly two dozen dignitaries from African countries flew into town for the inaugural Houston-Africa Energy Summit hosted by Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Alexander and his team welcomed SABIC executives ahead of some committee meetings in Space City. The Saudi Arabian company, with offices and research and development centers in Houston, is ranked among the world’s largest petrochemical manufacturers.  

More than two dozen international scientists arrived in Houston before attending the International Atomic Energy Agency conference at Texas A&M.  

Photo opportunities with the private and government aircraft allow the public a glimpse into the arrival experience Houston airport employees meticulously plan for and prepare.  

From hospitality to world-class amenities, Houston is one of the few cities in the country to offer two international airports. The customer experience is world-class. William P. Hobby Airport is the first airport in North America to earn a 5-star Skytrax rating. Bush Airport has worked tirelessly to maintain its 4-star status for five consecutive years.  

The work done by Alexander and his team provides vital support for new and expanded international air service. The staff serves as a liaison between Houston Airports and federal law enforcement, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Commerce.  

“Key to our success is relationships and friendships with our business and government partners, stakeholders, and potential customers locally, nationally and internationally,” said Alexander.