Lufthansa will make Tampa its newest U.S. destination, launching nonstop flights to Frankfurt next fall.
Starting Sept. 25, the carrier will fly four weekly wintertime flights on the route. Lufthansa will increase that to five a week for its summer schedule. Lufthansa will use Airbus A340-300 jets on the route, which will become the airline’s third to Florida. Lufthansa already flies to Miami and Orlando.
“We’re delighted that our passengers will soon be able to fly in comfort, non-stop from the West Coast of Florida to Frankfurt,” Lufthansa CEO Karl Ulrich Garnadt says in a statement. “We’re expecting the new direct connection to elicit huge interest and demand, especially from leisure travelers.”
Tampa also appears to become the first destination to get service on Lufthansa’s A340 aircraft that are reconfigured in a 298-seat layout targeted toward leisure markets. Lufthansa is rolling out the higher-density set-up to seven of its older, four-engine A340s.
There will be no first class cabin on the reconfigured aircraft, but they will include 18 of Lufthansa’s updated lie-flat business class seats. There will be 280 seats in coach, including 19 in Lufthansa’s just-launched Premium Economy section.
Carsten Spohr, CEO of the broader Lufthansa Group holding company that includes Lufthansa as well as subsidiaries Austrian, Swiss and Germanwings, discussed Lufthansa’s reconfigured A340s with Today in the Sky on Monday.
“This is basically maintaining and extending the operation of our 340-300s in the fleet,” Spohr said to Today in the Sky from the carrier’s offices in New York’s Empire State Building.
Spohr said the reconfigured aircraft will be used “partly … on routes which are loss-making now and partly taking on some new routes,” of which Tampa becomes one of the first.
Despite the increased seating capacity on its A340s, Spohr said “this will be the full Lufthansa product. (We) will just be reducing the number of premium seats to 18 business-class seats, leaving room for more than 280 economy and premium economy seats.”
Spohr said “that’s enough for us to enlarge our network” by allowing the carrier to fly to more leisure-focused markets that may not have enough demand for the carrier’s high-end first class seating.
As for Tampa International, the carrier lauded the new route to Frankfurt.
“This is a huge win for the Tampa Bay region,” Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport, says in a statement. “Lufthansa is one of the best-run and profitable airlines in the industry and their investment in this community is testament to the strength of our international travel market.”
Tampa International noted that Lufthansa can offer connections via Frankfurt to more than 145 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
SOURCE: USA TODAY