Phoenix Sky Harbor International welcomes Air France – Chamber Business News

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The Valley of the Sun is now linked to the City of Lights with a new nonstop flight.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport last Thursday welcomed the inaugural nonstop Air France flight from Paris. 

Dozens of aviation enthusiasts were on hand to watch the Air France Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner’s arrival. 

The flight will run three times a week, offering a mix of Business, Premium Economy, and Economy seats.

Air France celebrates inaugural nonstop roundtip PHX-CDG flight.

A strategic investment

At ribbon-cutting at Terminal 4, Phoenix Vice Mayor Deb Stark emphasized the economic benefits of this new route. 

“Air France’s investment in Phoenix, bringing the first-ever nonstop service to France, signifies a strong vote of confidence in our city’s potential,” she said. The partnership is projected to generate an annual economic impact of approximately $69 million.

This new service also shows Phoenix’s position as a key player in international business and tourism. French businesses have already recognized Arizona’s potential, with more than 80 French companies established in the region, spanning sectors from mining and electronics to biotechnology and renewable energy.

Phoenix City Councilman Kevin Robinson speaks at the press conference welcoming to Air France to Phoenix Sky Harbor. Phoenix Aviation Director Chad Makovsky on right.

Commitment to sustainability

Air France’s choice of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for this route shows the airline’s commitment to sustainability. 

The Dreamliner is known for its reduced carbon footprint and quieter operations, aligning with community health and safety priorities. 

“We are proud to offer one of the most environmentally friendly aircraft in the industry,” said Boaz Hulsman, the vice president of commercial North America for Air France. “This aircraft emits 20% less CO2 and produces less noise compared to other planes of similar size.”

The inaugural flight crew for the PHX-CDG nonstop flight prepares for departure.

Strengthening economic connections

The introduction of this route improves tourism and helps to strengthen economic ties between Arizona and France. Phoenix now has direct access to Air France’s huge network, including 180 destinations worldwide. This connectivity is expected to facilitate increased business exchanges and investment opportunities.

During the event, it was highlighted that France is the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe, and this new route will help to enhance Phoenix’s attractiveness to French investors. A recent delegation to Paris, which included representatives from the Arizona  Office of Tourismand the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, shows the city’s approach to improving international business relationships.

The new route also promises to improve cultural exchanges between Phoenix and France. Arizona ranks fifth in the U.S. for French tourists, drawn by the state’s natural beauty and unique attractions.

The high demand for the inaugural flight, which had a 97% load factor, is a promising indicator of the route’s success. Originally planned to be a seasonal route, it’s already been extended through the winter.

“This strong demand underscores the community’s support and the mutual benefits of this new service,” Air France’s Hulsman said.

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