German national carrier Lufthansa has confirmed that it will launch a new route to Tampa, its third destination in Florida, from the autumn of 2015. The predominantly leisure market of the Tampa Bay area, the gateway to the West Coast of Florida, will see the destination served by the new ‘Jump’ business of Lufthansa which will fly up to 14 Airbus A340-300s reconfigured in a higher-density, three-class, 298-seat arrangement under the Lufthansa brand.
The Star Alliance member will offer a five times weekly link between Frankfurt and Tampa from September 25, 2015, reducing to four times weekly during the winter schedule. The Tampa - St Petersburg-Clearwater area, a rapidly growing metropolitan region with nearly three million residents, sits on the Gulf of Mexico and boasts some of America’s best beaches. It will join Miami and Orlando in Lufthansa’s Florida network.
“We’re delighted that our passengers will soon be able to fly in comfort non-stop to the West Coast of Florida on flights to our new US destination at Tampa,” said Karl Ulrich Garnadt, chief executive officer, Lufthansa German Airlines and member of the Lufthansa Board. “We’re expecting the new direct connection to elicit huge interest and demand, especially from leisure travellers.”
Tampa and its surrounds abound with attractions for holiday-makers to visit and enjoy, such as the Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, the Florida Aquarium and the Legoland theme park. Cultural highlights include the Dali Museum and the white-sand beaches around Clearwater and St Petersburg attract no end of tourists to the region, as do its many golf courses.
Currently, scheduled air links between Europe and Tampa are limited with British Airways offering flights from London Gatwick and Edelweiss Air from Zurich. An estimated 475,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew between destinations across Europe and Tampa International Airport in 2013 with around 57,000 of these beginning or ending their journey in Germany (39.9 per cent of those were flying from or to Frankfurt; approximately 23,000 annual passengers, the third largest O&D market).
Which destination do you think will be next to be served by Lufthansa’s new ‘Jump’ A340-300 sub-fleet?
The launch of ‘Jump’, a completely different concept to the airline’s low-cost, long-haul ‘Wings’ project under consideration, is an opportunity for Lufthansa to continue utilising its older A340-300s on a network of routes that cannot be sustainably served with its current aircraft configuration. With the removal of a First Class cabin and instead an 18 lie-flat-seat Business Class offering and 280 seat Economy cabin with a 19-seat section offering its recently-launched Premium Economy product, a higher-density arrangement would better serve predominantly leisure markets.
“We see a promising growth potential on long-haul in the leisure travel business and Lufthansa intends to be more committed to this segment in the future. The new flight to Tampa is a first step in that direction, and further attractive offerings will soon follow,” explained Garnadt.
Lufthansa is known to be considering a number of destinations across the globe for the ‘Jump’ concept, whose A340-300 sub-fleet will fly at a much lower cost while maintaining the high-quality travel experience of a Lufthansa flight, with high service standards and comfort levels. Alongside markets in the Americas it is set to fly to destinations in Africa and Asia with Bangkok, Cancun, Cape Town, Hyderabad, Ho Chi Minh City, Nairobi, Panama City and Phuket among those believed to be under consideration for future launch in late 2015 or 2016.
In our analysis, below, we look at transatlantic passenger flows between Europe and Tampa International Airport over the past ten years by origin and destination point in Europe. This data shows a market that has a strong annual demand and although traffic has declined over the analysis period, will likely grow again above the 500,000 passenger figure once the Lufthansa route is established. With the current British Airways link the UK market dominates but other major European countries like Germany, Italy, France and Spain are seeing large flows of traffic in and out of Tampa.