The new Lufthansa flight from Tampa to Frankfurt will be a success when it’s full

September 28, 2015

Chris Wilkerson | Tampa Bay Business Journal
Despite a celebration complete with pretzels, German chocolate cake and polka music welcoming the first Lufthansa Airlines flight from Frankfurt to Tampa last Friday, airport officials are quick to point out that the hard part is still ahead: making the flight successful.
“Let’s make this Lufthansa’s most profitable flight,” Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano cheered into a microphone at the celebratory welcome/pep rally.
When an airline chooses to add service at an airport or expand service it means that somewhere in a boardroom, executives decided this flight has the highest probability of being profitable of all the potential destinations out there, TIA Vice President for Marketing Chris Minner has said of the recruiting process.
Now that Lufthansa flights to Frankfurt are leaving nightly from TIA, it’s time to prove them right.
Lufthansa planes filled with business travellers and vacationers do more than just keep Lufthansa happy. They will help the airport’s celebrated marketing team convince the next airline to connect Tampa to the next international destination.
“We have to focus on making Lufthansa highly successful,” Minner said as the celebration quieted down on Friday. With less than a week of flight occupancy data to work with, the trip has been 87 percent full so far, according to TIA.
Teams in place to help the airport fill those flights include the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., Visit St. Pete Clearwater and Visit Tampa Bay. In order to land more flights to other international destinations, the hospitality and tourism groups have to commit to marketing that will compliment the flights and EDCs have to plan business trips to introduce local executives to international companies they will be able to do business with more smoothly because of the new flights.
This has been happening and the success of the two newest international flights – Edelweiss Air to Zurich, Switzerland, and Copa Airlines to Panama City, Panama – is helping the airport’s marketing team sell Tampa.
TIA has landed deals for a new international flights “when our preparation has met opportunity,” Minner said. TIA keeps the flights and grows the service when the numbers prove the business is here.