New Flights Begin Service to Florida

Getting to the Sunshine State from overseas just got a bit easier.

Jetairfly began new direct service from Brussels, Belgium to Miami the weekend of April 5, 2014. Both Qatar Airlines from Doha, Qatar and Copa Airlines from Panama, Central America will begin servicing South Florida this summer. 

Jetairfly’s new service is the first time the airline has flown directly to the United States. The direct flight from Brussels to Miami is expected to significantly impact Florida’s business in Europe.

And later this spring, for the first time, there will be a direct route from Doha, Qatar to connect Miami to the Middle East hub and beyond. The airline industry leader Qatar Airways announced that it will begin four weekly nonstop flights to Miami International Airport from Doha on June 10, 2014. Doha is one of the top hubs in the Middle East, which is currently the fastest-growing region in the world for air travel.

“The addition of service from Doha, Qatar to MIA solidifies Miami’s ranking as the No.1 port of entry into the State of Florida and No.2 into the U.S.A.,” said William D. Talbert, III, CDME, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.  “Qatar Airways’ service opens the door of opportunity for Miami and the State of Florida to generate increased visitation from many of the top emerging markets of the world.”

A Miami-Dade Aviation Department economic impact study estimates that the new service by Qatar Airways will have an economic impact of 536 jobs and $78.3 million in projected business revenue within Miami-Dade County. Weekly flights from Doha will establish a direct connection between Miami and one of the strongest economies in the world, with service by one of the most acclaimed airlines in the world. 

The Panamanian airline, Copa will begin four flights a week from Panama to Fort Lauderdale starting July 11.

“The sky truly is the limit for international tourism growth in Broward County,” said Carlos M. Molinet, senior vice president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Copa’s new flight from Panama this summer further strengthens Greater Fort Lauderdale’s position as a gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The flight is expected to have an annual economic impact on the area’s tourism industry of approximately $12.1 million, as well as increase business opportunities with Latin America. Copa began service from Panama City, Panama to Tampa in December 2013. 

These new flights are part of a VISIT FLORIDA initiative called Air Team Florida begun in 2011. This program brings Florida tourism destinations together with airports and convention and visitors bureaus representing communities from all around the state to present a unified message in an incredibly competitive market. Air Team Florida has a tremendous opportunity to impact this critical segment of the travel industry. As part of a 2 year old airline grant program, VISIT FLORIDA is allocating up to $1 million annually for the initiative to support destination marketing organizations’ ability to attract new flights. Already, the initiative has brought new flights through Norwegian Airlines from Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm to Ft. Lauderdale and Edelweiss Air from Zurich, Switzerland to Tampa.

“In today’s highly competitive global travel marketplace, VISIT FLORIDA and our industry partners are focused on increasing international airline service to the state,” said Will Seccombe, president and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “With the value of every new international flight we add generating nearly $200,000 per wide-body landing in revenue for the economy, Governor Scott’s efforts to help sell the Sunshine State bring us ever closer to making Florida the Number 1 travel destination in the world.”

During peak travel periods, Florida has over 195,000 airline seats arriving into the state from Europe, South America and Central America per week. Considering load factors, this equates to more than 149,000 passengers per week. Acquiring one new major flight arriving four times per week from a core European market is estimated to have an economic impact totaling $793,000 per week to the local and state economy.

Florida is home to 19 airports with 14 of them designated as international airports. Fifty percent of Florida visitors arrive by air.

For more information, contact VISIT FLORIDA PR Representative Pam Forrester at 850-205-3827 or email