With Italian accordion music, meatball pasta and a blessing from Bishop Edward Burns, American Airlines launched seasonal service to Rome from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport on Friday.
The Fort Worth-based carrier plans to operate the route with a retrofitted Boeing 777-200 through September. It launched seasonal service to Amsterdam on Friday as well.
The Rome and Amsterdam routes expand DFW Airport’s non-stop flights to European destinations. The airport has been offering incentives to carriers that launch new service across the Atlantic.
“From May to September last year, 10,000 people traveling to Rome began their trip here in DFW,” said John Ackerman, DFW Airport’s executive vice president of global strategy and development, noting that the airport anticipates there is demand for the new routes.
The airplane American used on the inaugural flight was the same plane used to fly Pope Francis around the U.S. during his 2015 visit. The same pilots who flew the pope, Capt. George Griffin and First Officer Tom Murray, also flew the DFW-Rome inaugural flight.