Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Business

First Copa Airlines flight from Panama arrives at Tampa airport

TAMPA — The first direct overseas flight to Tampa from Panama City touched down at Tampa International Airport Monday night, the opening act in what local government and business leaders hope will be a profitable corridor for travel and trade.

Just after 10 p.m., passengers on Copa Airlines Flight 228 stepped into a brightly lit Tampa airport terminal and a schmaltzy welcoming party, with phony pirates in beads greeting them to a backdrop of beach music. (The pirates were actors hired by airport officials.)

It was undoubtedly a different scene from what the travelers left behind at Tocumen International Airport, but they didn't seem fazed.

Nayrobi Valencia, a tourist from Panama City, was the first passenger from the flight to clear customs and enter the terminal.

She'll be vacationing for 20 days in St. Petersburg, having been to the Tampa Bay area before and particularly enjoying Clearwater Beach.

"I love that place," she said. "That's why I'm here again."

The incoming flight of about 150 passengers was a prelude to a more heavily publicized departure this morning.

Airport spokeswoman Emily Nipps said the outbound flight will take place on the relatively roomy Boeing 737-800, with 160 seats, because of high ticket demand. That flight is scheduled to depart for Panama at 7:02 a.m.

Luring Copa was a feat for airport officials, who have struggled for years to attract the interest of international airlines, lagging behind Miami and Orlando. The Panama route joins flights to Cuba and Switzerland the airport has also secured.

Economic development officials hope the Panama flight will strengthen business ties with Latin America and draw tourists.

Comments
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data announced Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief operating ...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg Police on Thursday closed two assisted living facilities, citing "deplorable conditions," including no running water. The facilities are run by Tampa Bay Behavioral Health, located at 3434 Second Ave. S and 3418 Second Ave. S, accordin...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

When LA Fitness on West Hillsborough Ave. reopens mid-summer, it will have undergone a $5 million renovation and a complete transformation. Closed since November 2017, the 10-year-old facility was completely torn down and is still undergoing construc...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

A new program that teaches coding to kids is coming to the Tampa Bay area. Code Ninjas is a Houston-based franchise that is opening its first location in Westchase in early May. There are plans for other centers in Carrollwood, South Tampa, New Tampa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs to debut East Club Stadium at Raymond James Stadium

Bucs to debut East Club Stadium at Raymond James Stadium

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for the upcoming 2018 season with luxury renovations to its East Stadium Club featuring everything new and modern.These enhancements are the fourth phase of the nearly $160 million renovation of Raymond James Stadium,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — The old Trump tower site on Tampa’s Riverwalk has for years remained empty as a knocked-out tooth, but on Thursday developers put flesh on a vision for what they tout as Tampa’s tallest building, with its most exclusive set of condominiums an...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

ST. PETERSBURG — Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schager will have ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Times Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG — Downtown’s rapid growth has not been without tension between its residents and the businesses and events that draw exuberant crowds. The city, which has been attempting to amend its noise ordinance o...
Updated: 7 hours ago