Virgin Atlantic is continuing its transatlantic expansion with a new direct route from Heathrow to Tampa, launching on November 3.
The year-round Florida service will initially fly four times a week before increasing to daily from November 28, complementing the airline’s up to four daily flights to Orlando and double-daily flying to Miami.
Flights go on sale from next Wednesday (July 13) with return economy fares starting from £436.
This latest addition follows the airline’s launch of direct flights between Heathrow and Austin, Texas, in May.
Virgin Atlantic will offer more than 190,000 seats each year to the destination and will be the only airline to directly connect the Tampa Bay region with Heathrow.
Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: “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.”
Dana Young, Visit Florida president and chief executive, commented: “Expanding flight options and exposure to destinations throughout Florida is vital to maintaining and strengthening the UK’s position as our number-one 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.”
Joe Lopano, chief executive at Tampa international airport, added: “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.”
Steve Hayes, Visit St Pete/Clearwater president and chief executive, said: “Visitors from the UK love our beaches, weather and warm hospitality, and this new non-stop connection provides another convenient avenue to increase the impact of UK travellers to our local economy.”