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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, September 06, 2017 2:33 pm

Verbatim: Indiana Lands First Year-Round Nonstop Flight to Europe

New route to provide quicker, easier connectivity for Hoosiers, businesses

The following was released on Wed., Sept. 6, 2017 by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation:

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 6, 2017) – Governor Eric J. Holcomb joined executives from Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today to announce new nonstop air service from Indianapolis International Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. A key part of Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda, the new flight will provide a critical link connecting Indiana businesses with global markets.
“Indiana’s pro-business reputation continues to grow and spread around the globe, and that’s why securing a direct transatlantic flight is so important,” Gov. Holcomb said. “This flight is a big win for our state’s business community and for Hoosier travelers. I cannot wait to see that first Delta flight take off for Europe in just a few short months.”

The flights, which will begin May 24, 2018, will connect Indiana and Europe year-round with service scheduled at least three times per week. Operating on a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, the route's frequency will increase during the spring, summer and fall months, reaching daily service throughout the peak summer season. With the new service from Delta, in cooperation with its joint venture partner Air France/KLM, Indiana passengers and global businesses will have access to more than 100 destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India, including 23 of the top 25 transatlantic markets, via one-stop connections at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

According to air service traffic, 310 people travel from Indianapolis to transatlantic destinations daily. By attracting Indiana’s first year-round transatlantic flight, the Indianapolis Airport Authority estimates that this new air service could have a $50 million annual impact on Indiana’s economy.   

“Indiana and the Indianapolis metropolitan area has long been an important part of our route network and we are honored that Delta will be the first U.S. carrier to take Indiana nonstop to Europe,” said Bob Cortelyou, senior vice president - network planning for Delta.

The availability of nonstop air service is generally considered imperative for businesses when selecting headquarters and growth locations, supporting both international businesses with operations in Indiana and Indiana-based businesses which do business around the world. Indiana is home to more than 800 foreign-owned businesses, which employ 190,900 Hoosiers. In 2016, more than 8,500 Indiana businesses exported $34.7 billion worth of goods to customers around the world, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

“Today’s announcement opens the doors for unprecedented development and growth, as it directly connects our economic engine here in central Indiana with our neighbors across the Atlantic,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “This connection elevates our already strong workforce, increasing avenues for job creation and talent retention – another sign that the sky truly is the only limit for Indianapolis.”   

The Indianapolis International Airport has been named the best airport in North America for the fifth consecutive year by Airports Council International. Including this new route, the airport has added 37 nonstop flights since 2014, increasing its service to a total of 48 nonstop destinations. Delta's history in Indianapolis goes back more than five decades, and the airline currently provides service to 13 destinations, carrying thousands of Hoosiers daily on frequent service across its global network via its hubs in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City and Salt Lake City in addition to nonstop flights to Orlando, Raleigh/Durham and Cancun. 

Delta's Indianapolis-Paris service will be available for sale beginning Sept. 23 and is scheduled as follows: departing Indianapolis at 6:20 p.m. and arriving in Paris at 8:45 a.m. the next day; departing Paris at 1:15 p.m. and arriving in Indianapolis at 4:35 p.m. The onboard experience will be equipped with 25 fully lie-flat seats in Delta One, 29 seats Delta Comfort+ and 171 seats in the Main Cabin. Every seat has access to Wi-Fi, free personal in-flight seatback entertainment screens as well as power ports. Complimentary meals and beverages will also be provided in all cabins of service. 

"Today's news is the result of significant efforts on the part of many parties working collaboratively toward one collective goal," said Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority. "That goal over time has been to connect IND to every direction of the globe. A nonstop destination into Paris puts travelers -- for business and leisure -- right in the heart of Europe, with access to hundreds of cities, business economies and some of the greatest attractions in the world."

To help support the new route and ensure its long-term success, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has offered Delta Air Lines up to $5.5 million in conditional incentives over two years based on the company’s commitment to operate regularly-scheduled nonstop flights between the two airports. The incentives, which are subject to approval of the IEDC Board, will be awarded based on the number of passengers served by the route over the next two years, and, similar to other IEDC incentives, will not be awarded to the airline until service for passengers is provided.

As part of Governor Holcomb’s plan to make Indiana a magnet for job creation, Indiana is committed to improving the state’s connectivity by attracting new nonstop and direct flights to and from Indiana's airports. During the latest legislative session, Governor Holcomb requested $10 million toward air service development for Indiana’s commercial airports, including securing a direct transatlantic flight. With a transatlantic flight now secured, the IEDC is continuing to work with airlines to explore options for expanding domestic service at Indiana’s regional airports.