To celebrate its first new nonstop flight to Europe in 14 years, Tampa International Airport wants to provide guests with a taste of Swiss culture.
The first Edelweiss Air flight to Zurich, Switzerland, will leave Tampa on May 25, and the airport will host food tastings and entertainment every Friday evening leading up to the takeoff.
The first event will be held today and will feature performances of traditional Swiss music, a sampling of Swiss chocolates and prize giveaways.
On May 11, there will be a sampling of Swiss cheeses, breads and pastries. A fondue night will be held on May 18.
"Swiss Month" will wrap up on May 25 with a beach party — complete with sand — for the airport's first passengers from Zurich. Another "taste of Switzerland" party will be held for the passengers on the inaugural flight to Zurich from Tampa.
In other news announced at the aviation authority board meeting Thursday:
• International passenger traffic at TIA is up 20 percent from this time last year. New flights to Cuba boosted the totals, helped by increases in passengers from Canada and passengers on British Airways' flight to London, which is now daily, up from five days a week early last year.
• Net revenues are up almost 4 percent from this time last year because of increased revenues from parking, car rentals and concessions. The airport recently introduced some new concessions, including a Green Iguana restaurant and Swarovski Crystal store, and plans to launch seven more by the end of May.
• Construction on the international terminal is set to begin Monday. Board members were given a presentation about the design of the renovated and expanded terminal, which will include an oculus, or a circular skylight.