Monday, February 19, 2018
Business

TIA makes its pitch to add international routes

Tampa International Airport took another shot at wooing Copa Airlines on Monday.

Delegates from about 150 airports met with about 30 different airlines at the Network USA 2012 conference and tried to persuade them to start flight routes through their airports.

Copa Airlines, which could offer direct flights from Tampa to Panama City, Panama, was a top priority for TIA.

Chris Minner, TIA's vice president of marketing, said the meeting went well, and he will be traveling to Panama in two weeks to continue talks with the airline.

He said he hopes that USF's Health International Foundation, which has a campus in Panama City, is a strong enough business link to recruit the airline to offer direct routes to the region.

Ivan Canton, Copa's network planning manager, said he liked Tampa, although this was only his third trip here. He said his meeting with TIA was a good starting point for discussions about expanding flight routes.

Minner also met with Alaskan Airlines, AeroMexico, JetBlue and Virgin America Airlines, among others, he said.

Currently, Tampa averages just 24 nonstop flights a week outside the United States, mostly flights to Canada and British Airways' daily flights to London.

The airport has targeted Frankfurt, Germany, Bogota, Colombia, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mexico City and Panama as likely options for expanding its international routes.

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