I don't know when BNA will get TATL or TPAC air service. I do know that there is a TON of misinformation passed on what exactly exactly the economy is based on what the music industry is all about. People also tend to underestimate significantly the impact tourism has on Nashville as a region.
1. Tourism will play a roll in any discussion. Obviously there's tourism to Europe that will likely be very similar between BNA, CMH, CLE, or IND because it is based on population. A household in BNA is pretty similar to a household in CMH, CLE, or IND, and I am going to assume that total tourism to Europe will be fairly similar because the metro populations are all very similar at this point.
European travel to BNA/IND/CMH/CLE does happen, although it is less than the other way. I don't have any data specifically on European travel to BNA. Anecdotally, I know that there are at large weekly tours from London that hit Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans which focus on the music industry. I also know that Nashville is currently supporting 3 or 4x service to YYC that is primarily based on tourism to Nashville.
For some actual data on tourism numbers, please refer to post #160 in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1365239&p=19598405#p19598405
in which I provide some actual numbers to the tourism and hospitality industry in Nashville and the peer cities. To summarize those numbers, Nashville has a larger significantly larger hospitality industry as measured by total hotel rooms than CMH, IND, or CLE (on the order of 50-75% larger than any of those cities). It also has a larger hospitality industry than STL despite STL having a larger economy and substantially more total population. Finally, because MSY has been mentioned repeatedly in this thread as a city that thrives on tourism, I did look up total hotel counts for the New Orleans MSA for this post. New Orleans had ~39,000 hotel rooms in the MSA in 2016 compared to Nashville's 41-42,000 in 2017. Source for New Orleans numbers: http://www.neworleanscvb.com/visit/faq/
and http://www.nola.com/business/index.ssf/ ... _boom.html
In short, Nashville's tourism and hospitality industry is very similar to New Orleans which people have been using to justify MSY's BA service. If it works for MSY then one would also think it would work for BNA.
2. Business travel will play the largest role in traffic from any of these cities to Europe. I do not have any firm numbers to compare the amount of business travel from any of the aforementioned cities to London or Paris or Frankfurt. People in this thread have asked for specific examples of companies that travel to Europe from Nashville. I would point people to HCA (the world's largest owner of hospitals) which has several facilities in the UK, UBS (its NA shared services HQ is in Nashville as of two years ago), Schneider Electric, the auto industry (Bridgestone NA HQ, Nissan NA HQ and mega assembly plant, GM assembly plant and suppliers) with its numerous European based suppliers which have outposts in Nashville, and the music industry. I would also point to the healthcare industry just based on its scale. Somewhere around 8-10% of all US hospitals are owned by corporations in Nashville which has led to a healthcare administration, financing, and innovation hub being here. There are around 400 healthcare corporations based in Nashville, 18 of which are publicly traded. Some of those companies own hospitals in Europe, and there are undoubtedly interconnections in the world of corporate finance and health IT with Europe. Nashville currently has six Fortune 500 companies based here and will have seven (possibly eight) once 2017 numbers are calculated. Fortune 500 companies by their very nature have broad travel requirements nationally and internationally. I don't know how to quantify how many European manufacturers are traveling to Nashville to pitch their products to Dollar General or Tractor Supply or many investment funds from Germany are traveling to Nashville to strike up business relationships with HCA or CHS, but those trip happen with regularity for Fortune 500 companies.
3. The music Industry is largely misunderstood by most on this board. Everyone points to Nashville being the country music capital of the US. While that is true, the dominance of the country music industry in Nashville lets people forget about the other aspects of the Music Industry that do touch Europe to a larger degree. Country music is a massive industry all by itself and is what allows a critical mass of musicians and infrastructure to be based in Nashville. Those same musicians and infrastructure (the recording studios, record labels, intellectual property attorneys, music marketing businesses, music tour businesses, etc., etc., etc.) is what has drawn a multitude of other music genres to Nashville. If you're a rock band in Europe and need to record in the US or tour in the US, then you will do so in either LA, NYC, or Nashville. Already, vast majorities of country, contemporary Christian, and Americana music are written, recorded, and promoted out of Nashville, and a good chunk of alternative rock is based out of Nashville. The alternative rock empires and progeny of Jack White/Third Man Records, the Black Keys, and Kings of Leon are all Nashville based in addition to several popular but less well-known bands. There are definitely synergies between the music industry and the overall entertainment industry that have also been expanded upon. I've seen it discussed on here how surprising it is that a market the size of Nashville (~2 million people) can support the number of nonstop flights to LA, but when you see the connections between LA and Nashville with the number of celebrities who live here now as well as television production, music production, and marketing then it becomes more obvious. Those same types of connections with Europe are too numerous and granular to identify individually, but they are there.
I do think Nashville punches above its weight because of the rapidity of growth that it has as well as the entertainment and tourism sectors that drive a lot of air travel. How much it punches above its weight remains to be seen, but given the hints and construction ongoing at the airport I suspect we will see TATL soon. I strongly suspect that BNA already has an airline that has agreed in principle to provide service to Europe based on the rapid proposal and approval of capital funds going to an international arrivals area that is now under construction.