Today, one year to the date when Denver International Airport (DEN) experienced our lowest passenger traffic numbers, is a day for celebration! After a year marked by uncertainty, I am delighted to relay some great news and announce Air France is coming aboard as DEN’s newest airline partner! Beginning July 2, 2021, Air France will operate nonstop service between Denver and Paris-Charles De Gaulle (CDG). This is exciting news made even more meaningful because it marks a bright spot in what has been a tough year for air travel, especially international travel.
Flights will operate three days per week onboard the iconic Boeing 787-9 aircraft. This will be the first-ever nonstop service between Denver and Europe operated by a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, and Denver will now offer transatlantic service by all three major airline alliances.
Welcoming Air France to our portfolio during a global pandemic is not something we would have anticipated, but it speaks volumes to the strength of our air service network, our community and DEN. It’s a big decision for a new airline to invest in our market.
In some ways, this came about very quickly, but in reality, we have been building the case for decades. DEN officials began discussions with Air France more than 20 years ago. In that time, Denver has emerged as a global city with strong demand for travel to Europe. When Air France approached DEN in early March to discuss the business case, we were able to demonstrate the strength of the Denver market and show the affinity for French travelers to enjoy visits to National Parks and activities unique to the Western U.S. This is a particularly important trend given that the recovery of air travel is led by leisure visitors.
As a result of our market strength and our low airline costs, by late March, Air France confirmed Denver would be added to their network, beating out several other U.S. cities under consideration.
Although we are excited for this inaugural flight, we also recognize there are still come challenges ahead. As you’re aware, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact air travel, especially internationally, and this new Air France service is dependent upon travel restrictions being lifted as more and more people are vaccinated. Today, borders remain closed and non-essential travel between the U.S. and Europe is not permitted but this is expected to change.
While travel restrictions remain in place, you can still plan ahead for vacation later in the year and book your flight today by visiting www.airfrance.com. We hope you will take advantage of this new nonstop flight and enjoy Paris or another wonderful European destination once you are ready to travel.