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British Airways flights to London return to Tampa International Airport

British Airways returned with flight service to London Gatwick, the first European service since March 2020.

TAMPA, Fla — Monday was a historic day at Tampa International Airport (TPA). The airport welcomed back international flight services to Europe. 

Travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can now fly with British Airways from TPA to London Gatwick Airport. The last time British Airways flew to or from Tampa was back in March 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic brought on travel restrictions across the globe. 

Historically, this route is one of TPA's first nonstop international flights, the airport said. The nonstop flight between TPA and London Gatwick dates back to 1985.

Monday a British Airways flight from London arrived at TPA at 5:25 p.m. A returning flight took off from a TPA runway at 7:25 p.m. 

RELATED: US to reopen travel to international tourists Monday

The return of the international flight between TPA and London Gatwick comes as the United States reopened travel to vaccinated international tourists Nov. 8.

In an interview last week, USF professor and health virologist Dr. Michael Teng said with mandatory use of masks and cleaning in between flights flight travel is pretty safe. He recommends using an N-95 mask for air travel, as opposed to cloth masks, or surgical masks that do not form a seal around your mouth and nose. 

As this one flight service opens the floor for more international travel, TPA reports domestic travel is almost back to pre-pandemic numbers.

RELATED: US lifts pandemic travel ban, opens doors to visitors

The U.S. has also reopened land borders with Canada and Mexico for vaccinated travelers. Those who travel to the borders will have to show proof of vaccination before entering the U.S., with exceptions to children under 18 who will have to show a negative COVID-19 test.