Virgin Atlantic will launch a direct route from London Heathrow to Tampa on November 3.

The year-round Florida service will initially fly four times a week, increasing to daily from November 28.

Timings are as follows:

VS129 LHR-TPA departs 1325, arrives 1835

VS130 TPA-LHR departs 2050, arrives 1015 (following day)

Virgin will be the only airline offering a direct connection between Heathrow and Tampa Bay, with over 190,000 seats on offer each year.

Flights go on sale from July 13, with economy fares starting from £436, premium from £937 and Upper Class from £2,256 per person.

The flights are scheduled to be operated by 787-9 aircraft but Virgin says that the route is a candidate for the new A330 neo, the first of which it will receive later this year.

The carrier already flies four-times-daily to Orlando and double-daily to Miami.

This launch follows Virgin’s recent addition of direct flights between London and Austin in May, which will increase to a daily service in 2023.

See our review:

Flight review: Virgin Atlantic B787 Dreamliner Upper Class London-Austin

Juha Jarvinen, CCO at Virgin Atlantic commented:

“We are delighted to continue our expansion in the US with this new daily service to Tampa, Florida offering even more choice for customers on both sides of the Atlantic to connect between the US and the UK.

“Florida is very much a firm favourite for our customers ever since our first flight to Miami back in 1986. With the popular theme parks and the stunning beaches of St Pete and Clearwater within easy reach, we know it’s an area our customers will love to explore.”

“The region has a booming economy with high profile businesses moving to the area and many budding entrepreneurs registering start ups in the city. We very much look forward to forging new relationships within the Tampa Bay community and cannot wait to welcome customers, both existing and new onboard, flying them safely to explore this exciting region.”

Joe Lopano, CEO at Tampa International Airport commented:

“We at Tampa International Airport are thrilled to offer our first-ever nonstop route to Heathrow and launch this new partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Not only does this create another Tampa-London option for our leisure travellers, but there’s a huge upside for our thriving business community to now have a direct connection to the world’s premier business airport. We expect this to be a popular route during what we know will be a very busy winter travel season at TPA.”

The airline says that Florida’s third largest city has seen a 4.2 per cent growth in population between 2018 and 2021, and that the region is home to key industries including financial services, healthcare and a growing technology sector.

Virgin will also boost its holiday portfolio throughout the region, offering a range of hotels and fly drive holidays owing to its proximity to theme parks such as Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Busch Gardens.