Starting Thursday evening, you can fly nonstop from Indy to Europe for the first time

("Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France" by GanMed64, CC BY 2.0)

At 6:12 Thursday evening, the first ever nonstop transatlantic flight out of Indianapolis takes off for Paris.

Delta announced the long-sought nonstop to Europe last year. A cooperative agreement with Air France will connect Hoosier travelers when they land to more than 70 cities in Europe, Asia. Africa and the Middle East. The Holcomb administration predicts the business opportunities created by nonstop service could boost Indiana’s economy by as much as 50-million dollars.

Marsha Stone, the airport’s senior director of commercial enterprise, says business class seats on the inaugural flight sold out quickly, and coach seats are nearly full — some people bought tickets just to be able to say they were on the first one.

Stone says the airport has worked with U-S Customs since September to get the airport ready to handle the extra international travelers. The airport has hosted signup days for Global Entry, the Customs program which allows pre-approved passengers to sail through border control quickly.

Holcomb will be on board the first return flight late Friday afternoon, as he wraps up a European trade mission.