Virgin Atlantic likely adding Tampa, Norse Atlantic applies for Orlando and Fort Lauderdale to London

With operational problems plaguing the entire airline sector and Florida flight pull downs becoming more prevalent, it’s time for some good news.

Sources tell me Virgin Atlantic will be launching Tampa service. I presume this means Tampa’s first ever flights to Heathrow Airport, as Virgin has halted service to Gatwick. A Heathrow link is critical for business and Tampa has been “Gatwicked” so to speak for years by British Airways, first due to the Bermuda II treaty (which only allowed Heathrow flights from the following “tier 1” US cities – Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles)and more recently due to the lack of slots at Heathrow and Tampa being the most leisure-oriented destination BA serves in the US.

Meanwhile, Norse Atlantic has begun Fort Lauderdale-Oslo service, begins Orlando-Oslo service next month and now has applied for service from London-Gatwick to Florida. Norse has filed an application with a UK subsidiary for Fort Lauderdale and Orlando to/from Gatwick service to begin this summer. Fort Lauderdale has been without London service since British Airways pulled its flights to consolidate south Florida operations in Miami, during Q4 2019 (just before COVID hit). Fort Lauderdale has also lost international service on Emirates, Norwegian and TAME since COVID hit.

On a sour note, I am told Delta is not quite enjoying the bookings anticipated on its soon-to-be-resumed Orlando-Amsterdam service, so keep an eye on this space. The flight, which was already pigeonholed as winter seasonal (essentially making it dependent on a European point-of-sale) might not stick around. Amsterdam to/from Florida has been an odd duck for years as KLM has started and ended Miami service no less than four times in the last two decades. KLM has once again resumed Miami service this past October. Delta’s Orlando and Tampa-Amsterdam service never really got out of the gate because of COVID. Maybe Delta should try Tampa again as an alternative if Orlando doesn’t work?

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