TAMPA (WFLA) – Travelers flying out of Tampa International Airport are now able to take a nonstop flight to Frankfurt, Germany on Lufthansa Airlines.
Lufthansa Airlines began a new nonstop service to Frankfurt on Sept. 25. The first flight from Germany arrived Friday afternoon, and the first flight to Frankfurt left Tampa a few hours later. Lufthansa will offer nonstop flights from TIA five days a week during the summer and four flights a week during the winter, according to a Lufthansa news release. Each flight offers 298 seats aboard an Airbus A340-300.
Since 2010, international passenger traffic at the airport has increased more than 50 percent. With the addition of Lufthansa, the airport anticipates ending 2015 with a 70 percent increase in international passenger traffic compared to fiscal year 2010, according to a TIA announcement about the new service.
Julie Ahlgren was on that first flight. “It’s a big deal because it takes a lot of stress away. You don’t have to worry about making your connection while you’re heading off to another country,” Ahlgren said.
Julie’s husband, Brandon Ahlgren, also made the trip. He went for business in Prague but will see Germany first. “I think it’s huge deal. Once you land into Frankfort, you can be anywhere within four hours from a train ride or hopping in a car. I think it’s going to increase business,” Ahlgren said.
Tampa Bay area hotel owners are excited about the potential for increased tourism. “It’s gonna be a game changer,” said Joe Caruso, owner of the Coconut Inn near Pass-a-Grille Beach. “Germans love to vacation. They love Florida. They love the Tampa Bay area. Now that it’s easier to get here. It’s gonna be a great thing.”
“All we need to do is give good experience, the first people that start coming, and it’s just gonna snowball,” Caruso added.