More than 200 flights depart from Tampa International Airport every day.
But soon, one will fly non-stop to San Francisco.
Airport officials and United Airlines on Monday announced the new nonstop will begin taking off in February. Airport spokeswoman Janet Zink said the direct flight is important for economic development in the Tampa Bay area.
“When companies are expanding or relocating, they want to know what kind of non-stop service your airport has and it’s not just international destinations -- which we've also grown-- but also domestic destinations. And San Francisco is a key one,” she said.
Airport officials said the route has been their top domestic priority for years, and that the connection from Tampa to San Francisco Bay is the most underserved route in America.
“That's one of the reasons why this was attractive to United,” Zink said. “People are flying to San Francisco -- it’s just very inconvenient for them to get there right now but beginning Feb. 16th -- it will be incredibly convenient.”
In May the airport launched a social media campaign to gauge demand. Zink says 1,400 people have since joined a Facebook group urging airport officials to offer the non-stop route. According to airport data--about 280 passengers fly from Tampa to San Francisco daily.