MORRSVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – RDU International Airport is adding a direct flight to Paris on Delta Airlines, the airport announced Thursday morning.
A Delta spokeswoman said the 757 flight to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris will begin in May 2016. The overnight flight will leave around 6 p.m. and arrive in Paris around 8 a.m. the next morning.
Bob Geolas, CEO of the Research Triangle Park, called the announcement “a huge, huge business opportunity.”
“This additional flight to Europe is just what we need to net more industries and retain job growth,” he said.
Geolas was one of many Triangle business leaders who participated in the event, underscoring the magnitude of the announcement.
Airport personnel kept the major announcement private until the last minute, but WNCN confirmed it Wednesday afternoon.
RDU currently has only one flight to Europe, a direct flight to London. RDU also has international flights to Toronto and Cancun. Delta said the popularity of the London flight contributed to the decision to add a flight to Paris.
RDU had a nonstop flight to Paris for a brief period, but that ended in 1988.
Dickie Thompson, chair of Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Board of Directors, said, “It has a direct economic impact on our region and our state.”
Thompson added, “The benefits of this flight are real and tangible.”