Aviation News

Virgin Atlantic announces Tampa as its next destination in the United States

Virgin Atlantic has announced Tampa, Florida as its next destination in the United States. This comes just weeks after the airline launched flights to Austin, Texas.

Starting 3rd November 2022, Virgin Atlantic will operate 4-flights-a-week between London Heathrow Airport and Tampa International Airport. The flights will operate daily from 28th November 2022. They will run with the following schedule:

  • London-Tampa
  • Departure time: 13:25
  • Arrival time: 18:35
  • Flight time: 10 hours and 10 minutes
  • Flight number: VS129
  • Frequency: 4-flights-a-week, increasing to daily from 28th November 2022
  • Tampa-London
  • Departure time: 20:50
  • Arrival time: 10:15 (the next day)
  • Flight time: 8 hours and 25 minutes
  • Flight number: VS129
  • Frequency: 4-flights-a-week, increasing to daily from 28th November 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 Heathrow.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said:

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.

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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.

Joe Lopano, Chief Executive Officer, Tampa International Airport, said:

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.

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.

Dana Young, President and CEO, VISIT FLORIDA, said:

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. 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.

The airline intends to operate the route with Boeing B787-9 Dreamliners featuring 258 seats across Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class.

Virgin Atlantic says that later this year, it will take delivery of its first Airbus A330neo, becoming the first UK airline to take the delivery of that particular aircraft type. During 2022, the airline will take delivery of 3 A330neo aircraft, with up to 13 further aircraft to follow until 2026.

It might also be possible that Tampa will be one of the first routes for Virgin Atlantic’s A330neo, as suggested by Twitter user Ishrion Aviation.

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic, in May 2022, announces that it will restart flights to Cape Town, South Africa.

Featured image by Facebook/Virgin Atlantic

What do you think of Virgin Atlantic launching flights to Tampa? Let me know in the comments section below.

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