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Air France announced Tuesday it is launching international service between Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris beginning next year.

AIRBUS, ASSOCIATED PRESS - NYT

Air France to launch MSP-Paris service in '13

  • Article by: DAVID PHELPS
  • Star Tribune
  • October 23, 2012 - 9:25 PM

Springtime in Paris -- at least after May 21 -- just got a little easier.

French carrier Air France announced Tuesday that it intends to provide seasonal service between Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris beginning next year.

It is the first-ever service by Air France in the Twin Cities, said Brian Peters, assistant director of air service business development for the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC).

Service will be offered five days a week from May 21 until June 16 and daily from June 17 until Sept. 1.

Passengers will fly on a 275-seat Airbus A340 with 30 seats in business class, 21 seats in premium economy class and 224 seats in economy.

The flight will be operated under a transatlantic joint venture involving Air France, KLM, Alitalia and Delta that will also offer connecting opportunities in Europe and North America.

The Twin Cities is the 11th Air France destination in the United States.

"We've talked to them several times, and they decided the time is right to start seasonal service," Peters said. "Minneapolis is a large market with a large corporate market and the relationship with Delta helps with connection opportunities."

The Air France Minneapolis-to-Paris flight will depart at 8 p.m. and arrive at 11:35 a.m. the next day.

Delta currently provides daily, year-around service between the Twin Cities and Paris.

The new service provides a revenue-sharing opportunity for the four airlines in the joint venture.

"When you add a flight the revenue is divided between the partners," said Delta spokesman Anthony Black. "We're not competing, we're complimenting one another. Ultimately the market determines if it is strong enough to support the additional service."

Air France also announced it will offer new service from Paris to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia three times a week.

"With these two new routes, Air France is offering its customers greater choice and additional flight opportunities alongside existing services operated by KLM and Delta," Alexandre de Juniac, Air France chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

David Phelps • 612-673-7269

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