TUI Airways lands its inaugural flight in Melbourne Orlando International
Support local journalism. Unlock unlimited digital access to floridatoday.com Click here and subscribe today.
Heading to Melbourne from the west, the TUI Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner slowly descended as a group of photographers aimed their lenses along runway 9R-27L
Then the blue and white jumbo jet touched down at 4.43pm on Tuesday – making history as the first-ever transatlantic flight from Melbourne Orlando International Airport.
The inaugural aircraft brought TUI’s first group of European holiday passengers from Manchester, England to the Space Coast. Long awaited by Brevard County officials, the vacation package company is expected to carry 135,000 tourists this year from seven cities across the UK.
“Coming to this place, all of Orlando’s attractions are going to be a big part of what they’re here for. But we also know that time at the beach – and starting next year, the opportunities for cruise with the same company – are really going to add value to flying to this airport,” said Greg Donovan, airport executive director.
TUI flights depart from Melbourne: TUI flights from the UK to Melbourne begin this month, attracting 135,000 tourists this year
Titusville Air Show: Canadian Forces Snowbirds to be replaced by US Navy fighter jets at Titusville Air Show
Each TUI flight will carry 300 to 345 passengers from the UK to Melbourne. Airport officials are planning 11 flights per week until May 1, when flights will increase to 16 per week.
Other TUI participating markets are London Gatwick, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol, Doncaster and Newcastle.
Tuesday’s flight was TUI’s first flight to central Florida since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The European travel conglomerate has departed Orlando Sanford International Airport and entered into a seven-year contract to operate in Melbourne.
Melbourne Orlando International Airport is expanding: Melbourne Airport celebrates $72m terminal expansion, upcoming TUI and Allegiant flights
“Fly-in hotel” at Melbourne airport: Hyatt Place ‘fly-in hotel’ to accommodate Embraer guests, TUI and Allegiant passengers
TUI passengers can choose vacation packages at more than 100 Florida properties, including 20 Walt Disney World Resort hotels and five Universal Studios Florida hotels:
- 30% stay at a Disney property.
- 30% stays on International Drive.
- 40% is split between Universal, 18 villa options and other Orlando areas including Lake Buena Vista.
Brevard County officials hope to “capture” TUI visitors near the end of their trips to spend time – and money – here. The Space Coast Tourist Board has earmarked $200,000 to market Brevard to TUI customers.
Additionally, TUI’s UK cruise line Marella Cruises will debut in Port Canaveral next summer, offering voyages to New York; New Orleans; Charleston, South Carolina; Key West; and the Caribbean.
MLB officials celebrated similarly in November when Allegiant launched nonstop flights to Nashville, Pittsburgh and Concord, North Carolina. Allegiant is Brevard’s first low-cost airline since Spirit canceled operations shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Support local journalism. Subscribe today.