(January 8, 2018) Tampa International Airport and its largest carrier, Southwest Airlines, celebrated the launch of daily nonstop flights to San Diego the morning of Jan. 8, cutting cake, taking photos and throwing a fun party for the inaugural passengers at the gate.
The new service is a major win for the Airport and the Tampa Bay region, especially for the business community. TPA research shows that traffic between the two markets is heavily driven by business passengers, with strong links between our defense, aerospace and medical industries.
“This service is going to be a game-changer for us,” TPA CEO Joe Lopano said. “Southwest is very committed to this market and this new flight to San Diego furthers that commitment even more.”
This is Southwest’s 38th nonstop destination from Tampa International and its first on the West Coast. Mondays through Fridays, the flight will depart TPA at 9:40 a.m. and arrive in San Diego at 11:55 a.m., then depart San Diego at 12:45 p.m., arriving at TPA at 8 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, the flight will depart San Diego at 9:05 a.m. to arrive at TPA at 4:30 p.m., then depart TPA at 4:50 p.m. and arrive in San Diego at 7 p.m.
San Diego was one of three domestic targets presented to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board in November 2016 as part of TPA’s five-year Air Service Development strategy. In less than eight months, TPA has secured service to two of the three on that list - San Diego and Salt Lake City - and service to Salt Lake began last month. Portland is the remaining domestic target market.
“This really is keeping Tampa on the grid, so to speak,” Lopano said. “It’s really important for us to be connected to these West Coast destinations as we grow.”