A new chapter in Indiana air connectivity began Thursday as the state’s first year-round, nonstop transatlantic air service began. The Delta Air Lines flight left Indianapolis International Airport Thursday evening in what Executive Director Mario Rodriguez calls a "historical moment" for the state. The first Paris-to-Indy flight will arrive Friday afternoon, carrying Governor Eric Holcomb, who has wrapped up a week-long economic development trip in Europe.
Holcomb will arrive carrying the green flag that will be used to begin the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday.
Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, Deputy Consul General of France in Chicago Frédéric Cholé and President of the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago Juan-Luis Goujon took part in Thursday’s send-off ceremony.
The flight between Indy and Paris was first announced in September. The Indianapolis Airport Authority estimates the Paris flight could have a $50 million-per-year economic impact.
Indiana government and business leaders have worked for years to secure nonstop transatlantic service. The state says more than 900 foreign-owned businesses call Indiana home, employing nearly 200,000 workers and exporting nearly $35 billion in goods throughout the world. Governor Holcomb, who calls global air service "critically important" to the Indiana economy, succeeded in pushing the General Assembly for millions in dedicated state funding for more international flights.
Airport leaders say the flight will also open up new options for leisure travelers. The service offers direct connections to tourist destinations including London, Venice, Rome and Barcelona.