Raleigh-Durham International Airport will see a key international flight return next year. The airport, which lost all of its international routes earlier this year amid the pandemic, will have its nonstop flight to Paris restored.
Delta Air Lines has confirmed plans to bring the flight back next summer, part of a much larger rollout across its network. At RDU, the Paris flight will be offered five times a week, according to the airline.
The airline did not release other details of its plans for the RDU flight. In total, Delta plans to add more than 50 transoceanic flights across its network next summer compared to this summer’s travel schedule.
Delta also announced plans to resume – as well as to add – multiple international flights out of Atlanta, Boston, New York’s JFK and Seattle in September and October.
Mike Walden, industry watcher and economist at North Carolina State University, said the return of Paris flight will be a “big plus” for RDU, which saw passenger numbers plummet more than 90 percent in the early months of the pandemic before inching upward over the summer.
The Paris flight “shows long run confidence in the region after Covid, which I agree with,” Walden said. “A big boost for the regional business community.”
Delta has also committed to enhanced sanitation procedures in its aircraft, deploying electrostatic spraying before departure, as well as offering extensive cleaning inside the plan at high touch points. Delta is blocking all middle seats and limiting the number of customers per flight through at least Jan. 6.
The once-daily Paris flight debuted in 2016 after a multi-year lobbying effort by both the airport and the business community. A regional business coalition even stepped up with marketing dollars to entice the flight.
Delta began rolling back the Paris service in March before suspending it completely. RDU also lost its nonstop flight to London via American Airlines.
Original Article Source: Triangle Business Journal