15:36 PM

Hillsborough County Aviation Authority staff reaches 92 percent vaccination rate success

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority has now reached a 92 percent rate of vaccinated employees thanks to a robust educational campaign and incentive program aimed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among its workforce.

The 616 Authority employees, which comprise various departments such as Police, Operations, Finance, Marketing and Maintenance, are responsible for managing and operating Tampa International Airport. In early August, the Aviation Authority launched a $1,000 vaccine incentive payment for all fully vaccinated employees. Employees were given a choice of getting vaccinated or undergoing weekly COVID-19 testing – similar to the federal mandate announced by the White House more than a month later.

Of the 616 active employee, 568 are fully vaccinated as verified by Human Resources and another four employees will soon be verified pending medical clearance. As of now, 48 employees are testing weekly and able to work by showing a negative test result.

"Having as many employees vaccinated as possible is critical to ensuring Tampa International Airport remains fully operational and safe for our staff and our passengers as we continue to recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19," TPA CEO Joe Lopano said. "I'm incredibly proud of how my team has stepped up and worked together to do the right thing."

TPA has been at the forefront of COVID-19 prevention measures since January 2020, initially monitoring the spread of the virus abroad via operational briefings and partnering with BayCare Health System to conduct educational Town Halls in March 2020. In April 2020, TPA launched "TPA Ready," a full-scale health protection program to promote distancing, masks, disinfection and other procedures to keep passengers and employees safe, one of the first airports in the U.S. to roll out such measures. In October 2020, TPA was the first airport in the country to offer on-site PCR and rapid antigen COVID-19 testing to all departing and arriving passengers, testing 21,000 people before the site closed this past May.

The Airport's efforts were recognized nationally and globally. In March 2021, TPA was named one of the world's most hygienic airports by Airports Council International, a top industry organization that sets the highest standards for all airports.