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NASHVILLE — Nashville International Airport is poised to land a direct flight to London on British Airways, culminating a multiyear effort by government, business and tourism leaders to secure the flight. An announcement is expected as soon as next week, sources told The Tennessean.

Nashville hasn’t been a non-stop destination for London since the mid-1990s.

As the city’s leisure tourism business has boomed, stakeholders including the Nashville Convention and Tourism Corp. and Ryman Hospitality Properties have advocated for the flight. 

In order to secure the deal, incentives are likely to be included. Gov. Bill Haslam, whose administration has bulked up tourism marketing to lure international travelers to Tennessee, is expected to be at the center of the announcement.

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Haslam’s office did not respond late Thursday to a request for comment. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s spokesman did not immediately answer a request for comment. Airport Authority spokesman Tom Jurkovich said he could not confirm or deny the direct flight to London and declined to comment further.

When Nashville was a hub for American Airlines 30 years ago, the city had a direct flight to London. American Airlines ended that arrangement with Nashville and the flight went away.

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Planned upgrades include more security lines, a new hotel and spacious “Grand Ole Lobby.”

Three years ago, it was widely reported that Nashville was one of five finalists for a direct flight on British Airways.

As part of its planned $1.2 billion expansion called BNA Vision, construction is already underway at the airport for an interim international arrivals building.

Business at the Nashville airport is at an all-time high with more than 13.5 million travelers for the fiscal year ending on June 30. That marked an increase of over 1 million passengers from the previous 12 months.

The Tennessean is part of the USA TODAY Network. Stories from USA TODAY Network publications are  occasionally are used in Ben Mutzabaugh’s Today in the Sky blog. You can follow the authors of this story, Tennessean reporters Nate Rau (@tnnaterau) and Joey Garrison (@joeygarrison) on Twitter.

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