ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Pete Clearwater International Airport welcomed the very first international flight in over 18 months Friday evening.
The inaugural Swoop flight from Toronto landed at PIE on November 5, with more than 100 passengers.
Swoop plans to eventually run three flights per week to Toronto Pearson International Airport (Monday, Friday, Saturday) and two flights per week to Hamilton Ontario (Tuesday, Saturday).
The flights from Ontario begin November 9. The flights are non-stop and low fare and each carries 189 passengers. It will originally start as a once-a-week service. Hamilton Ontario will be a seasonal service and Toronto will be year-round.
It comes as the US plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travelers in 33 countries starting on Monday.
Leaders at St. Pete Clearwater International tell ABC Action News this is a huge step forward in bringing travel back. “It’s very exciting. It has been hard not only for our community but also for our friends in Canada. We are glad to see the borders open. We have a lot of Canadians who have second homes here and we are looking forward to having them back in our community.”
St. Pete Clearwater airport leaders tell ABC Action News they’re actually doing really well and revenue is only down about 10% from pre-pandemic in 2019, but they look forward to welcoming back international visitors.