14:04 PM

TPA celebrates Virgin Atlantic’s new nonstop route to London Heathrow

The premium airline will begin service to the major European hub four times per week, increasing to daily on Nov. 28.

A330NEO Aircraft exterior_version 216-9

Tampa International Airport will be kicking off its first nonstop route to London Heathrow (LHR) with welcome festivities for new partner Virgin Atlantic on Wednesday.

The airline’s new Airbus A330neo, a premium aircraft named “Billie Holiday,” will arrive at TPA carrying several VIP guests for a ramp arrival celebration followed by a press conference around 3:15 p.m. Speakers will include Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson, airline CEO Shai Weiss, Delta CEO Ed Bastian, TPA CEO Joe Lopano, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and more.

A330NEO Upper J+ seat16-9Offering more than 190,000 seats each year, the Virgin Atlantic route will be the only one to directly connect the Tampa Bay region with London’s hub airport. The new service will offer easy, seamless connections for customers traveling to and from Virgin Atlantic's worldwide destinations and partner networks via London Heathrow.

The inaugural passenger flight is Thursday, starting with service four days per week increasing to daily flights on Nov. 28.

“We are delighted to continue our expansion in the U.S. with this new daily service to Tampa offering even more choice for customers on both sides of the Atlantic to connect between the U.S. and the U.K.,” said Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic. “Florida is very much a firm favorite 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.”

Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano said he’s thrilled to welcome Virgin Atlantic while celebrating the Airport’s first nonstop service to Heathrow.

“Not only does this create another Tampa-U.K. option for our leisure travelers, but there’s a huge upside for our thriving business community to now have convenient access from TPA to the world’s premier business airport," Lopano said. "We expect this to be a popular route during what we know will be a very busy winter travel season.” 

Tampa will be Virgin Atlantic's third destination in Florida behind Miami and Orlando.

With Virgin Atlantic's new service to Heathrow, TPA will be one of only four airports in the U.S. to offer passengers a choice between London's two main airports. British Airways serves London Gatwick (LGW) with flights from TPA. Only New York's JFK, Boston's Logan International (BOS) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) currently offer service to both London airports.

Flights are now on sale at www.virginatlantic.com