18:23 PM

New airline to restore Tampa Bay’s connection to mainland Europe

Tampa Bay’s connection to mainland Europe is coming back in December with the launch of new nonstop service to Frankfurt, Germany aboard Eurowings Discover, the Lufthansa Group’s new leisure airline.

The four-times-per-week service, set to begin Dec. 16, is Eurowings’ first flight to the United States and is a clear signal of the strength of the Tampa Bay market.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome Eurowings to Tampa Bay and to restore service to Europe and beyond,” said TPA CEO Joe Lopano. “This is a critical connection for both European travelers coming to Florida and Floridians looking to travel the world. Frankfurt is one of Europe’s largest hubs and truly opens up the rest of the world. And, Florida, as we know, is the vacation destination of choice for so many across the pond.”

Eurowings Discover’s launch announcement comes shortly after receiving notice that travel restrictions to the U.S. had been lifted. The airline decided to launch its first U.S. flight ahead of other U.S. destinations, which will follow in 2022. Lufthansa Group reports that its passenger airlines have seen a boom in demand for U.S. travel since the removal of restrictions for vaccinated Europeans.

Eurowings Discover, which started operating this summer, will offer flights to Tampa on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays year-round. The flights will be approximately 9 hours and 10 minutes from Tampa to Frankfurt and 10 hours and 55 minutes from Frankfurt to Tampa (dang headwinds!).

While the airline will gear itself towards the leisure market, it will also be well-suited for business travelers. The Airbus A330 aircraft used for this flight will have more lie-flat business class seating than the previous Lufthansa A340 operation, which served TPA prior to COVID-19.

“We are excited that Lufthansa Group and Eurowings Discover has chosen TPA as its first U.S. route,” said Alex Heiter, TPA’s Director of Air Service Development. “This decision reaffirms the Tampa Bay area’s attractiveness for international visitors and provides a fresh brand geared towards the needs of many of those customers. In addition, Eurowings Discover will continue to provide a strong business class and premium economy offering, with seamless connectivity into the existing Lufthansa network at the Frankfurt hub.”

This flight will be marketed on the Lufthansa website as a “Codeshare” flight, meaning passengers will continue to enjoy Lufthansa loyalty plan benefits and efficient transfers onto connecting Lufthansa services at Frankfurt.