15:43 PM

Welcome Lufthansa!

(October 1, 2015) With the CEO of Lufthansa German Airlines, elected officials and community leaders at his side, Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano had a simple message for the Tampa Bay community at last week’s inaugural flight from Frankfurt to Tampa:

“We did it!” he proclaimed into the microphone to loud applause. “They said it couldn’t be done. We did it!” Lufthansa arrival at TPA

Lopano, of course, is talking about the nonstop flights between Tampa and Frankfurt – Lufthansa’s biggest hub and one of the largest in Europe.

“This is so important to us as a community,” Lopano said.

With this connection, Tampa Bay and the West Coast of Florida is one-stop away from almost anywhere in the world. Lufthansa connects to more than 150 international destinations from Frankfurt, including such far away destinations as Cape Town, Africa, or Mumbai, India.

Lufthansa German Airlines CEO Karl Ulrich Garnadt said the airline is very enthusiastic about adding Tampa as a destination. Garnadt said Florida is extremely popular with German travelers, and that the route will connect two major business centers – Frankfurt and Tampa.

“We are proud to contribute to the future success of Tampa Airport and the West Florida economy,” he said. “We are proud to be here.”

The new service is a win for the entire region. The service is expected to have an annual economic impact on the Tampa Bay region of $97 million and to create roughly 680 jobs. Each flight offers 298 seats aboard an Airbus A340-300.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the community has been working at bringing in this international route.

“Expanding our global presence and expanding this airport is absolutely critical,” he said. “We are well on our way to becoming a global city.”

The Lufthansa flights are part of the airport’s efforts to bring more international flights to the region. Since 2010, international passenger traffic at Tampa International has increased nearly 70 percent. With the addition of Lufthansa, the airport anticipates ending 2016 with a 100 percent bump in international passenger traffic compared to fiscal year 2010. That translates into an increase in visitors to the region’s beaches, restaurants and hotels, and a boost for Bay area businesses.

HCAA Board Chairman Robert Watkins praised the airport team for their hard work attracting this flight, saying he felt lucky to be part of such a group.

“These are very uplifting times for Tampa Bay and Tampa International Airport,” he said. “These new flights reinforce our commitment to make Tampa International Airport even better.”

Fast facts: Frankfurt Airport and Lufthansa Airlines

  • Frankfurt is the tenth largest airport in the world with close to 700 daily flights; second largest in Europe
  • Lufthansa connects to more than 170 destinations from Frankfurt, including 157 international locations
  • Lufthansa is the fourth oldest airline in the world and has 117,000 employees worldwide

The flight from Frankfurt to Tampa is 4,819 miles long