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Among many memorable moments in 2022, TPA lists its top 5

As historic years go, 2022 will always stand out as an important year for TPA, particularly as business returned to full strength and the Airport saw record passenger numbers on peak days throughout the year. From the removal of mask mandates to Hurricane Ian to the addition of several new nonstop routes, there’s no shortage of interesting TPA milestones to look back on over the past 12 months.

Among those moments, here are the top five that stand out as especially significant for TPA.

TPA 5K On the RunwayThe annual TPA 5K on the Runway returned: Tampa International Airport’s annual 5K on the Runway, a major fundraiser for the Airport’s United Way Suncoast giving campaign, went virtual in 2020 and was skipped in 2021 due to COVID-19. Then, in April of 2022, the runners and walkers returned. The sold-out event, which raised more than $82,000 for the United Way Suncoast, was a symbolic and welcome return to in-person events at TPA. It was one of many to come throughout 2022.giantflamingo

Flamingo finally perched in place: After several months of delays due to COVID and supply chain issues, the 21-foot bird is finally in the house. TPA’s now-famous flamingo sculpture, titled “Home” by artist Matthew Mazzotta, was finished, carefully transported and installed over the spring and summer of 2022. It now sits pretty in the Main Terminal as one of the most photographed art pieces in the Tampa Bay area. Its name? Stay tuned.

J.D. Power gives TPA top honors: After being ranked second and third in recent years, TPA was named the #1 Large Airport in J.D. Power’s North America Airport Satisfaction Study, scoring high marks in terminal facilities, food and beverage, security and other categories. In its 17th year, the study is based on 26,529 completed surveys from U.S. and Canadian residents who traveled through at least one U.S. or Canadian airport and covers both departure and arrival experiences during the past 30 days of their travels.

Cintas 8Airside C wins Best Restroom honors: After Airside C’s restrooms underwent major renovations, the upgrades paid off as the facilities were recognized by Cintas Corporation as the Best Restroom in America. The sparkling countertops, gleaming floors, spacious stalls and modern fixtures were voted as the best in a public poll, and TPA celebrated with a press event, balloons and toilet paper-shaped cookies. The Airport also received $2,500 in Cintas products, which were donated via TPA’s United Way Suncoast partners to homes and businesses recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Ian.

Virgin Atlantic launches daily nonstop Heathrow service: As TPA continued to see its international passenger traffic climb following the pandemic, Virgin Atlantic joined the party and added TPA’s first-ever daily nonstop service to London Heathrow. Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and other VIPs helped celebrate the inaugural flight, showing off the airline’s new A330-900neo and posing for photos with the Tampa Bay area team mascots. The route now gives a second option to TPA’s longtime British Airways service to London Gatwick.