RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) welcomes Air France's inaugural flight from Paris.
Air France is now the 15th airline at RDU.
"As a French citizen, having our national airline company we are proud of that too. The flight will be different, the service will be different, we are so proud to walk with Delta but Air France is excellence."
"More and more are coming now and having this flight operated by Air France makes the connection to Europe better, it's a big win as well," Cedric Deacarpentrie/Executive Director of French American Chamber of Commerce of Carolinas tells ABC11.
RDU's CEO & President, Michael Landguth said it's a proud day for the airport and the area.
"We are really proud of Air France to be here today and yes a big win for the community. Thankful for making this happen." "There is a lot more breadth, depth in terms of the number of destinations they can connect to right out of Paris." "It's the combination of the overall experience, the connectivity they provide, not just to Europe, but to India, Africa and all over the world, it's a great partner here to RDU."
"People want to fly all over the world and we're starting to see that...so we want to make sure we're providing the connectivity by recruiting carriers like Air France into the market so you can get to where you need to right from RDU," Landguth added.
"Air France looked at an opportunity for growth in the market, put a larger airplane in there and I think if they do well you'll see them continue to add capacity in the market."
Air France's nonstop service to Paris will operate three times a week. It's the route operated until now by Delta, Air France's partner airline.
More than 1.2 million travelers passed through the airport in September.
RDU continues to outpace previous years, with a 30% increase over September 2022 and a nearly 9% increase over RDU's record-breaking year in 2019.
Air France's arrival Monday comes weeks after the groundbreaking for a new runway.
RDU says the older runway, originally built in the 1980s, had a series of repairs over the years.
They'll build the new runway alongside the current one, so there won't be any travel disruptions.
RDU says once construction is complete more gates could be added and terminal two may get an upgrade to meet the demand.
The runway is supposed to be done in 2028.