Memphis Courts Air France for Nonstop Flight to Paris

Memphis officials are courting Air France for a potential nonstop flight to Paris.

Air France executives are holding their North American marketing and sales meeting in the Tennessee city this week and quietly assessing the market potential.

The Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and Memphis-based freight carrier FedEx Corp. all scheduled events to show off the city.

"It's their first time here, and since they don't serve Memphis directly, we're honored they decided to meet here," said Larry Cox, president and chief executive of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.

"It's a great opportunity to show their executives what Memphis is all about. Hopefully, they will come away with a favorable impression that will ultimately lead to service between Memphis and Paris, France."

A key person in the delegation worked for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines when it began flying a Memphis-to-Amsterdam route with Northwest Airlines in 1995. Because that route has been so successful, Air France is assessing its own potential here, said Arnold Perl, chairman of the airport authority.

Northwest would not speculate on what impact a possible Paris flight might have on its Memphis-to-Amsterdam flight or if the market could support two trans-Atlantic flights. AirFrance officials in Memphis were not available for comment.

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