Tampa targets unserved routes in Latin America and Caribbean with “inbound tourism demand, strong VFR traffic potential and deep business ties”
Tampa Bay offers the best of both worlds – myriad tourism opportunities for visitors, in addition to a vibrant, high-growth economy driving business travel.
On the tourism side, the region offers everything from dynamic urban centres to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. “We have seen consistent record-breaking tourism revenues across the region in the period following the COVID outbreak as visitors have flocked to our wide-open spaces,” says Alex Heiter, Director of Research and Air Service Development, Tampa International Airport. “Our economy continues to grow, with low unemployment and recent corporate relocation to Tampa Bay. About 125 people per day moved to Tampa Bay last year, attracted to new personal and professional opportunities. We expect this growth trend to continue, driving the need for new and expanded air service to help drive our local economic engine.”
Indeed, Tampa International Airport has a number of top unserved market opportunities both domestically and internationally and continues to engage with airlines regarding the strength of the Tampa Bay market.
“We have a number of leading unserved routes in Latin America and the Caribbean, which feature inbound tourism demand, strong VFR traffic potential and deep business ties,” Heiter explains. “In Europe, we are delighted to have Virgin Atlantic add our first-ever non-stops to London Heathrow. The UK has long been a leading market for both tourism and business for Tampa Bay. In addition, hub cities elsewhere in Europe continue to be strong markets for us.”
Frontier launches San Juan, Montego Bay and Cancun routes
Tampa International Airport recently celebrated three inaugurals with Frontier Airlines to San Juan, Montego Bay and Cancun. “These three markets are some of our largest in the Caribbean region and are very popular for both tourism as well as those visiting family and relatives (VFR),” says Heiter. “Our market has supported San Juan and Cancun for years, and we are excited to have Montego Bay back on our route map after a 21-year hiatus. We look forward to continued growth between TPA and the Caribbean region.”
Virgin Heathrow route strengthens Tampa’s international portfolio
Looking ahead, the airport is gearing up to welcome Virgin Atlantic, who will bring Tampa’s first non-stop from London Heathrow beginning on 3 November 2022. The flight will operate with an A330 and will fly four times a week in November before going to daily year-round beginning on 28 November. “This route will further strengthen our international portfolio by connecting TPA to what had been our largest unserved international route,” Heiter comments.
To stimulate and support further new routes, Tampa International Airport offers a robust Air Service Incentive Program for both new entrants and new routes – both domestic and international. “We are happy to engage with airlines interested in new and expanded TPA service to collaborate together,” says Heiter.
Master Plan Update
Tampa International Airport is currently undergoing a Master Plan Update, which will include the construction of a new 16-gate international and domestic airside terminal, Airside D, and other projects over the next five years. “Right now, we are in the process of doing prep work to make way for our Red Express Curbsides – the Blue Express Curbsides were completed last November – which allow passengers who don’t have checked luggage and don’t need to stop through the Ticketing Level or Baggage Claim to bypass those areas and go straight to and from curbside to gate in less time.