Tampa International Airport (TPA) now has Virgin Atlantic service using brand new Airbus A330neo jets to connect TPA with London Heathrow International Airport (LHR). The service has been well received, and Virgin Atlantic founder & President Richard Branson among other Virgin Atlantic was very enthused.

Branson: “Makes Sense for Virgin Atlantic”


Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic and Founder of Virgin Group issued an enthusiastic statement saying:

“We have double the reasons to celebrate today as we fly our brand-new plane into our latest destination – Tampa Bay. I can’t think of a better way to mark our arrival into this incredible region than by giving passengers the best start to their journeys on our new A330neo.

“Tampa Bay has it all; a year-round warm climate, vibrant nightlife, endless attractions and of course some of the world’s best beaches in St Pete and Clearwater. Combined with its emerging entrepreneurial mindset, the region simply makes sense for Virgin Atlantic and I can’t wait for our customers to experience all it has to offer.”

But Branson was not the only Virgin Atlantic executive with praise for the new route. CEO Shai Weiss even went so far as to say,

The USA is our heartland and Florida has an important role in our American portfolio, so I’m delighted to be bolstering connectivity to the region with the only direct flight to London Heathrow.

Finally, Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano was very excited about the business networking opportunities, explaining;

“Not only does this create another Tampa-U.K. option for our leisure travelers, but there’s a huge upside for our thriving business community to now have convenient access from TPA 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.”

The route


Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Below is the schedule, noting that the route will start up as a four times a week event until becoming daily on November 28, 2022.

Route Departure Arrival
VS129 London-Tampa 13:25 18:35
VS130 Tampa-London 20:50 10:15 (+1)

About the Airbus A330neo

VA_A330neo - Graphic by Virgin Atlantic of their A330neo/A330-900 at sunrise

Graphic: Virgin Atlantic

The London-Tampa route will be a showcase route for the Airbus A330neo. For Weiss,

“It’s also fitting that our new route will enjoy our newest aircraft, the A330neo. This plane has evolved our customer experience, with every traveller receiving a premium experience regardless of the cabin they travel in. It also plays a significant role in our multi billion dollar fleet transformation, demonstrating our commitment to the planet. We know the most impactful thing we can do as an airline is to fly the cleanest, greenest, youngest fleet possible, and the A330neo is integral to achieving this goal.”

The Airbus A330neo for Virgin Atlantic comes with a pair of Retreat Suites that consist of two exclusive suites that can have up to four souls have shared space on a flight or for two passengers to enjoy extra space. There are also smaller suites in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class.

The luxury doesn’t end there as customers in Upper Class get a seat that converts to a 6’4” fully flat bed and a 17.3” screen equipped with hundreds of movies and other content. Premium Class comes with a touchscreen with Bluetooth audio in front of a 38” seat pitch. Economy also is luxurious with a 34” seat pitch in Economy Delight and 31” in Economy Classic and Light seats, all with touchscreen IFE.

The A330neo is the newest aircraft type to join the Virgin Atlantic fleet. The A330-900 is a successor to the A330-300, with many common parts and the same type rating.

The upgraded aircraft also comes with curved and swept back wingtips, and with one of the highest wingspan and aspect ratio of an aircraft of its size, leading to less fuel burn and lower fuel costs. These improvements have added approximately 1,000 NM to now provide a 13,334 km/7,200 NM range with the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine. One can read this analysis about the A330neo and its evolution.

What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments.

  • Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1041 (2)

    Virgin Atlantic

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    London Heathrow Airport

    Year Founded:

    Shai Weiss

    United Kingdom

  • heathrow_17581988126223

    London Heathrow Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    United Kingdom

    John Holland-Kaye

    Passenger Count :
    19,392,178 (2021)

    Runways :
    09L/27R – 3,902m (12,802ft) |09R/27L – 3,660m (12,008ft)

    Terminal 2 |Terminal 3 |Terminal 4 |Terminal 5

Source: simpleflying.com

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