Tampa International Airport resumes nonstop travel to London with British Airways

TPA resumes service to and from Europe
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Posted at 10:17 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 23:20:58-05

TAMPA, Fla. — On Monday, Tampa International Airport resumed nonstop travel to London from Tampa.

The first British Airways flight landed at the airport around 5:30 p.m. on Monday. This marked the first international flight from London since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Air travel to Europe was halted for more than 18 months due to the pandemic and travel restrictions.

Last week, the United States reopened to vaccinated international travelers. Passengers said they had to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test.

"It's just back to normal, isn’t it. We’ve missed it, really a great deal. It’s fantastic. We’re really, really thrilled to be back here," said Valerie Unsworth.

British Airways also had a flight that departed from Tampa International on Monday.

"The United Kingdom is the second-largest market both for leisure and for business here in Tampa Bay," said Chris Minner, Executive Vice President of Tampa International Airport.

Tampa International Airport's nonstop international flights serve as a key connector between Tampa Bay and Europe. The nonstop service to London dates back to 1985. This route was the airport's first nonstop international flight more than 30 years ago.

"We're celebrating this month, the 34th anniversary of this flight. We’ve seen more than 3.1 million passengers that have flown British Airways to and from Tampa Bay and that’s a huge economic impact for us really. It’s about $150 million dollars a year that it’s worth," said Minner.

The flight that arrived on Monday was a full flight. Airport officials said other flights to Europe this week remain fully booked.

"They have been eager to be on these flights and I’ll tell you there is not a single open seat on this inbound flight because people are so excited to be back in Tampa Bay," said Minner.