Virgin Atlantic has revealed Tampa as its next destination. Taking off in November, it’ll link London Heathrow to the Florida airport, Heathrow’s largest unserved USA market. It’ll supplement British Airways’ long-served London Gatwick-Tampa route.

Virgin Atlantic to Tampa

The UK carrier has today (July 6th) announced Tampa. Taking off on November 3rd to benefit from winter demand, it’ll run 4x weekly at first before climbing to 1x daily from November 28th – a surprisingly high frequency. It’ll be a year-round route.

It’ll go on sale on July 13th. The schedule is as follows, with all times local. The times seem, in part, to result from slots acquired from Aeroflot: 13:25 was previously used by the Russian carrier to Moscow. However, it was also the time of Virgin’s (not currently operating) departure to Shanghai.

  • London Heathrow to Tampa: VS129, 13: 25-18: 35 (10h 10m block time)
  • Tampa to London Heathrow: VS130, 2050-10: 15 + 1 (8h 25m)

It’ll join British Airways’ 4x weekly winter service from London Gatwick, which BA has operated for decades. Department of Transportation data shows that it carried 165,224 passengers in 2019, its highest passenger volume thus far.

It was helped by the entry of Norwegian on the route in 2018, lowering fares (and yields) and growing overall traffic. However, it didn’t mean BA had a higher seat load factor (SLF) – it fell to 79%, its lowest since 2016. Performance would have been reduced.

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