American Airlines executives are giving serious consideration to re-opening direct daily flights between Birmingham and Chicago, three years after the service was axed.
City council leader Mike Whitby is to meet the company's head of route development to discuss the practicalities of returning to Birmingham International Airport.
The meeting, to be held in Dallas, follows talks between Coun Whitby, American Airlines managing director for corporate affairs Bill Hood, and Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago.
Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) said he was optimistic after visiting Chicago earlier this month that the transatlantic link would be up and running before long.
The council leader also sought the backing of the Prime Minister when he met Mr Blair at Downing Street.
Coun Whitby said the economic case for direct daily flights between Birmingham and Chicago, as a driver for inward investment and regeneration, was very strong.
He added: "A direct Birmingham to Chicago flight is an essential catalyst in boosting regional economic activity."
"I mentioned to the Prime Minister that, if the economic overheating in the South-east of England is to be addressed, an extended runway for BIA is vital and, in the future, a second runway," he continued.
" The Prime Minister endorsed that view and asked his private secretary to look into the issues of how we can enhance BIA and bring forward extension of the runway."
AA pulled the plug on its Birmingham flights in October 2002, blaming the business community for not using the service enough. Too many executives preferred to travel to America via Heathrow, it was claimed.