Monday, April 23, 2018
Business

TIA to make 'important announcement' concerning Edelweiss Air

Tampa International Airport has some important news to announce about Edelweiss Air.

Airport officials were mum about the details on Thursday, but they have called a news conference for this morning to make an "important announcement about international air service."

Airport CEO Joe Lopano and Michael Trestl, the business development manager at Edelweiss Air, will be there.

The airport would not comment on the purpose of the Edelweiss news conference. But it's already been a good week for Tampa International in developing overseas routes.

The Panamanian carrier Copa Airlines announced on Wednesday that it would fly Tampa-to-Panama City four times a week starting Dec. 17, giving Tampa Bay its first-ever route to a major Latin American hub.

Edelweiss has been one of Tampa International's biggest overseas success stories. In May 2012, the airline switched its nonstop route to Zurich from Orlando to Tampa. That gave Tampa its first direct route to continental Europe in 15 years, and added to its anemic international lineup, which includes Canada and Great Britain.

To seal the deal, TIA offered the Swiss carrier $464,000 in cash and waived airport fees to attract the Zurich route. Local tourist and business development groups kicked in with marketing and advertising support. The deal called for Edelweiss to offer two nonstop flights a week to Tampa during the summer tourist season and one during the winter until at least 2014.

The Tampa flight consistently filled more seats than when it flew out of Orlando. In July 2012, for instance, the twice-a-week Tampa flights were 73 percent full. Edelweiss officials have indicated over the past year that they were satisfied with the number of passengers.

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