Airsides A and E expanding to modernize security checkpoints
Construction has begun to increase the space for TSA screening areas in both buildings by tens of thousands of square feet, with minimal impact to travelers from the work.
The security checkpoints at Airsides A and E, both of which were designed and built prior to the security measures imposed by the Transportation Security Administration after 9/11, can sometimes be a bottleneck for TPA’s travelers.
These airsides have inadequate space for modern security checkpoint needs, which involve extensive screening for a substantially increasing number of travelers.
Now the Airside A and E checkpoints are getting a major overhaul, with the start of construction that will expand each facility by tens of thousands of square feet.
“For the last two decades, we’ve leveraged the original airside designs to their fullest,” said Matthew DeLoatche, TPA Senior Manager of Planning and Development. “But now, we’ve reached the point that annual passenger growth, and our commitment to providing the best passenger experience, dictate that these facilities grow as well.”
Airside A opened in 1995 and Airside E opened in 2002.
At Airside A, the passenger boarding level will expand by 20,560 square feet, directly southwest of the existing TSA checkpoint. This expansion will allow for a spacious, naturally lit checkpoint, accommodating seven security screening lanes and nearly four times the pre-security, queueing space.
Airside E will see a 19,542-square foot addition built to the south of the shuttle lobby, also boasting seven security screening lanes and ample pre-security, queueing space. The existing area currently occupied by the checkpoint will be partially reclaimed for the new checkpoint, with an expanded exit lane for arriving guests to reach the shuttles to the Main Terminal.
Boston-based design-build firm Suffolk Construction, in partnership with consulting firm AECOM, will work to enhance circulation, queueing, and screening in both buildings. Work is expected to be completed in summer 2025.
Travelers will sometimes see work in and around both checkpoints during that period, with barriers erected and some screening space being taken up by construction crews, but the disruptions should be minimal.
“We understand that security screening can often be one of the more stressful aspects of air travel. We also know that large-scale construction at airsides that are constantly in use comes with unique challenges,” DeLoatche said. “These new, expanded checkpoints will enhance the customer experience, and will be well worth the wait."
The project has a construction cost of $65.1 million and is being funded almost entirely with bonds and $525,000 in FDOT grants. The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board of Directors approved funding at its August 2023 meeting.
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