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Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Air France plans nonstop flights to Paris from Seattle

Seattle Times travel writer

Travelers will be able to fly nonstop from Seattle to four European cities, with the news that Air France will start daily nonstop service June 11 from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Currently, there is daily service from Seattle to London on British Airways; to Copenhagen on Scandinavian Airlines (SAS); and to Amsterdam on Northwest.

"It's a great win for our state," said Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton. "This is the culmination of a lot of work over many years."

Port officials lobbied hard to land the new Sea-Tac service. The Port offered Air France financial incentives, including discounted airport fees, said Creighton. He said the Port also is working to land nonstop service between Seattle and either Beijing or Shanghai, and Seattle and Mexico City.

About 50,000 people a year, including many Microsoft and Boeing executives, fly between Seattle and Paris, and until now, they had to make a connection through another city.

Frédéric Desagneaux, consul general of France, said the new service will boost tourism and business between France and the Pacific Northwest. "This is another step in the ever-growing relations between France and the state of Washington," he said, noting that 6,000 French citizens live in Washington.

The nine-hour, 45-minute Air France flight will leave Seattle at 4:55 p.m. daily, arriving in Paris at 11:40 a.m. the following day. The return flight will depart Paris at 1:20 p.m. and arrive in Seattle at 2:35 p.m. the same day.

Online ticket sellers on Tuesday priced the flight at $1,626, well above the $1,300 to $1,400 range other airlines were quoting for Paris flights in June.

Service will be aboard an Airbus A330-200, with 40 seats in business class and 179 in economy. Air France provides service from 125 U.S. cities through partnerships with Delta, Continental and Northwest Airlines. Seattle will be the airline's 13th U.S. gateway.

Carol Pucci: 206-464-3701 or cpucci@seattletimes.com

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

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