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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Passengers will be able to go from the shores of the Great Salt Lake to the banks of the Seine without stopping next summer.
Delta Air Lines on Thursday introduced a new nonstop route from Salt Lake International Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. It's the first trans-Atlantic flight from Utah, which is a major hub for Atlanta-based Delta.
"There is something different about a state and a city that has direct links across the Atlantic and across the Pacific. It is a huge deal," Gov. Jon Huntsman said during a news conference to announce the route.
Getting from Utah to anywhere in Europe requires one stop, at least. Delta, which just exited bankruptcy in April, hopes that Utah-Paris becomes a major route. Salt Lake City is hundreds of miles away from the other major airports in the region, such as Denver, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Delta President and Chief Financial Officer Ed Bastain said the airline chose Paris as the European destination from Utah because of Delta's partnership with Air France. Passengers can get from Paris to just about anywhere in the world, and the direct flight from Salt Lake City will eliminate at least one stop.
Starting June 2, Delta will offer Flight 170, a 10-hour flight from Salt Lake City arriving in Paris the next morning.
Flight 171 will also run daily from de Gaulle to Salt Lake City. "It's good to get it started," Bastain said. "Then we'll certainly gauge how the flight is doing to determine future expansion opportunity."
Utah has been trying to promote its own tourism, touting the state's five national parks and skiing on the "Greatest Snow on Earth" -- as it says on the license plates. "I'm just delighted it's online and we can continue to attract people," said Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism.
State officials hope that the flight from Paris will attract people from all over Europe who want to see the American West. There's also the skiing, which Utah residents proudly put up against any location in Europe. "They don't have the greatest snow on Earth," von der Esch said.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)