21:56 PM

Tampa International Airport Begins Search for New Mix of Shops, Restaurants

(October 8, 2013) - From sushi to spas to sports bars – the possibilities are creating a buzz as Tampa International Airport announced the launch of its Airport Concessions Redevelopment Program.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board and the airport community got its first glimpse last week at the plan to revamp TPA’s shops, restaurants and other customer service-oriented offerings. By 2017, visitors will begin seeing a whole new lineup of concepts designed to set TPA apart from other airports.

“By combining national brands with a local sense of place, we hope to really capture the spirit of Tampa Bay through this new concessions program,” said airport CEO Joe Lopano. “We are looking forward to exploring new ideas and creative business concepts. The possibilities are tremendous.”

Research shows people want a greater variety of options for food and shopping when they visit airports – quite a change from a time when most airlines served meals and airports had little more than a few newsstands and a bar or “hot dog stands,” Lopano said.

"Now customers are arriving two hours before departure, and aboard the airplane there's not much to offer," Lopano said.

The contract with the airport’s existing concessionaire, which dates back to the opening of the terminal in 1971, expires in 2015. Plans call for making contracts available to multiple operators, a concessions model that has become popular among large airports in recent years, TPA Vice President of Operations John Tiliacos said during his Oct. 3 board presentation.. The program is expected to encourage more choices for passengers, more opportunities for local and small businesses, and increased revenue for the airport.

Operators will be able to bid on a variety of concessions packages of different sizes that include a mix of locations in the terminal and airsides. The entire program is worth about $1.3 billion in gross sales over 10 years.

Tampa International Airport will begin soliciting competitive proposals in spring of 2014 and awarding contracts by late 2014. By the end of 2015, airport visitors will begin to see new storefronts and restaurants opening.

Giving airport visitors more options has paid off in recent years, and has been one of Lopano’s priorities since he arrived at TPA two years ago. In fiscal year 2012, the average spend per enplaned passenger at TPA was $9.60, up from $9.02 in 2010. In fiscal year 2017, the airport is expected to make about $13 per passenger.

When the new lineup is assembled and construction on the new shops and eateries in the main terminal and four airsides is complete by 2017, the airport expects to see a $5 million boost in concessions revenue, a 31 percent increase over the current annual concessions revenue.

“People who are traveling are always looking for great places to eat, shop and pass the time,” Tiliacos said. “We want to make sure the best of what the airport industry has to offer is available to them when they are at Tampa International Airport. Our new concessions program will guarantee that.”

A series of workshops hosted by the airport will cover the basics of operating a business in an airport environment, minority and small business requirements, and the solicitation process. The first is Oct. 22. The full schedule is as follows:

Concessions 101 – The Basics of Operating in an Airport Environment. Oct. 22, from 9 a.m. to noon, Tampa Airport Marriott, 4200 George J. Bean Parkway in Tampa; Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to noon at the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater, 12600 Roosevelt Blvd. N in St Petersburg.

Concessions 102 – ACDBE & M/WBE Program Workshop and Networking. Jan 16, 2014, from 9 a.m. to noon, Tampa Airport Marriott.

Concessions 103 – Solicitation Process and Procurement Overview. March 18, 2014, from 9 a.m. to noon, Tampa Airport Marriott. March 20, from 9 a.m. to noon, St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater.

Business owners interested in attending the workshops or learning more about the Airport Concessions Redevelopment Program can visit  http://www.tampaairport.com/concessions