The first flight of the new Flybe service took to the skies on Monday (23 May) and will be operating daily until 29 Oct.
British exports to France totalled £13.9bn in 2014 making the UK France’s seventh largest trading partner.
And the airport’s managing director, Dave Lees, believes it could provide a huge boost to businesses operating in the banking, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotech industries in particular.
Lees, said: “The new Flybe route to Lyon from Southampton opens up air links to the second largest metropolitan area in France, after Paris.
“Not only is this the capital for gastronomy in France, but it is also a business centre specialising in banking, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotech industries.”
Aviation minister Robert Goodwill added: “It is fantastic to see Flybe launch this new service between Southampton and Lyon.
“Our smaller airports are vital engines for local economies, connecting the UK and overseas destinations and opening up opportunities.”
Flybe will now operate 30 routes in total from Southampton this summer offering a choice of up to 357 flights a week.