Virgin Atlantic continues its transatlantic expansion with a new direct route from London Heathrow to Tampa, launching 3 November 2022, further cementing the airline’s commitment to its Florida heartland.
The new year-round Florida service will initially fly four times a week before increasing to daily from 28 November, complementing the airline’s up to four daily flying to Orlando and double daily flying to Miami. This latest addition follows the airline’s launch of direct flights between London and Austin, Texas in May 2022.
Offering more than 190,000 seats each year, Virgin Atlantic will be the only airline to directly connect the Tampa Bay region with London’s hub airport, London Heathrow. The new service will offer easy, seamless connections for customers travelling to and from Virgin Atlantic’s rest of world destinations and our partners’ networks via London Heathrow.
A booming city, Tampa has seen a 4.2% growth in population between 2018 and 2021 and has a catchment area of five million throughout the Tampa Bay and St Pete and Clearwater area. Key industries based in the region include financial services, healthcare and a burgeoning technology sector. The region is also the third fastest growing US metro area for entrepreneurs in 2021.
Tampa, Florida’s third largest city is famed for its history and culture as well as being the home of the world famous Superbowl winners, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and ice hockey legends, the Tampa Bay Lightning. With year-round beautiful weather and stunning Gulf Coast beaches, Tampa is the perfect gateway to Florida’s top attractions with the popular theme parks of Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Busch Gardens all within easy reach. To capitalise on the increasing leisure tourism, Virgin Atlantic Holidays will be boosting its holiday portfolio throughout the region offering a range of hotels and fly drive holidays.
Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented: “We are delighted to continue our expansion in the US with this new daily service to Tampa, Florida offering even more choice for customers on both sides of the Atlantic to connect between the US and the UK.
“Florida is very much a firm favourite for our customers ever since our first flight to Miami back in 1986. With the popular theme parks and the stunning beaches of St Pete and Clearwater within easy reach, we know it’s an area our customers will love to explore.”
“The region has a booming economy with high profile businesses moving to the area and many budding entrepreneurs registering start ups in the city. We very much look forward to forging new relationships within the Tampa Bay community and cannot wait to welcome customers, both existing and new onboard, flying them safely to explore this exciting region.”
Joe Lopano, Chief Executive Officer at Tampa International Airport commented: “We at Tampa International Airport are thrilled to offer our first-ever nonstop route to Heathrow and launch this new partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Not only does this create another Tampa-London option for our leisure travellers, but there’s a huge upside for our thriving business community to now have a direct connection to the world’s premier business airport. We expect this to be a popular route during what we know will be a very busy winter travel season at TPA.”
“Expanding flight options and exposure to destinations throughout Florida is vital to maintaining and strengthening the UK’s position as our No. 1 market for overseas visitation,” said VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young. “This new Virgin Atlantic service will provide more opportunities for UK travellers to experience the vibrant and growing city of Tampa, which offers a dynamic food scene, sports, arts and culture and much more.”
As Virgin Atlantic continues to work towards its vision of becoming the most loved travel company, the airline is focussed on serving the destinations we know our customers love to visit whilst continually innovating for its customers. New Caribbean services to St Vincent and the Grenadines, The Bahamas and St Lucia in 2021 as well as new flying from Edinburgh to Orlando launched this spring, and new flying to Austin took to the skies in May 2022. Later this year, Virgin Atlantic will be the first UK airline to receive the A330neo aircraft which not only boasts a step change to its Upper Class Suite and social space for customers but will help transform the fleet into one of the quietest and most fuel efficient in the sky. During 2022, the airline will take delivery of three A330neo aircraft, with up to 13 further aircraft to follow until 2026.