London nonstop flight may open Nashville to more tourist, growth

A British Airways jet lands at Nashville International Airport on Friday. (WSMV)

It’s now faster and easier to hop the pond with a direct flight from Nashville to London.

While the trip opens up the United Kingdom to Nashvillians, it could open the Music City to more than a trip to Big Ben.

Hundreds of passengers found their bags coming directly from London for the first time in decades. They say it’s a game-changer for tourism.

Dozens of people watched the landing of the British Airways flight from London on Friday evening. Others rolled off the plane, excited for new possibilities.

“When I fly Nashville to London, I go through Atlanta or Detroit or other places, so this will cut down significant amounts of time for me,” said William Christianson of Nashville.

The last nonstop flight from Nashville to London was in 1995.

On Friday, passengers, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and his wife, were sent off with fanfare.

It’s more than a straight eight-hour flight. It’s opening up the gates to more economic growth.

“UBS, AllianceBernstein, Bridgestone, Nissan, these are companies now based here in Nashville and we need this flight to connect us to the rest of the world,” said Nashville Mayor David Briley.

Interest in coming to Tennessee for business or vacation is high.

“From working in travel, I know as well that we’ve seen a huge surge in people wanting to go to the deep south, do the music trails and things like that,” said Emma Diamond of London.

It’s bound to draw the international traffic the city and state hope for.

“A lot of people are put off by flying indirect, so I think this is going to blow it wide open,” said Diamond.

The airport said this is the first of even more international flights hopefully coming to Nashville.

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