Ten things in 10 years that transformed TPA
New flights. Passenger records. Historic renovations. Greater financial strength and community involvement.
From one of the worst recessions on record to unprecedented success, it’s been a decade to remember at Tampa International Airport.
Here are ten of the most transformative events of the past decade:
JANUARY 1, 2011: The decade began – or nearly began – with the arrival of a new CEO - Joe Lopano. With a mandate to grow international travel and reinforce TPA as an economic driver of the community, Lopano has been at the helm during a period of historic transformation. Under his watch, the Authority now serves roughly 22.2 million annual passengers and has an annual economic impact of $14.4 billion – all while undergoing the largest construction expansion in Airport history.
MAY 25, 2012: Edelweiss Air launched its inaugural flight to Zurich, giving TPA a nonstop connection to mainland Europe and kicking off a period of rapid international expansion. TPA has seen a 193 percent increase in international passengers since 2010 and has added new nonstop flights to Panama City, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Cuba and the Bahamas.
Aug. 27-Aug. 30, 2012: In the summer of 2012, Tampa played host to the Republican National Convention, and Tampa International Airport was up to the challenge. The Airport helped welcome thousands of guests, serving as the first and last impression of the Tampa Bay region. Other major events over the past decade: The International Indian Film Academy Awards in April 2014 (India’s Academy Awards) and the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2017.
APRIL 4, 2013: The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board of Directors approved the 2012 Master Plan update, launching the Airport’s three-phase Master Plan expansion. When complete, the Airport will have the capacity for 34 million annual passengers in its current footprint. The plan called for the construction of a new automated people mover, rental car center, expanded pick-up and drop-off curbsides, commercial development, and a 16-gate airside, among other projects.
APRIL 27, 2013: Tampa International Airport hosted its first-ever First 5K on the Runway, deepening the Airport’s roots in the community and raising money for the United Way Suncoast. TPA has now held seven fun runs on the runway, hosting 12,226 participants. The Airport has raised $1,000,345 for the United Way, thanks in large part to the annual event.
FEBRUARY 11, 2016: TPA, in partnership with Tampa Electric, unveiled a new 2-megawatt solar array, ushering in a new focus on sustainability. Reducing the Airport’s carbon footprint is central to the airport’s mission. Today, the Airport participates in a variety of green initiatives that include: a fleet of compressed natural gas vehicles, two dozen electric vehicle charging stations, energy-efficient lights and windows, power-conserving escalators, water bottle filling stations and widespread use of reclaimed water. Since 2011, the Airport has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions per passenger by more than 10 percent and its potable water use by more than 20 percent.
FEBRUARY 16, 2017: Tampa International Airport has bulked up its west coast offerings, adding nonstop service to Seattle, San Diego and San Francisco. The San Francisco service aboard United, which launched Feb. 16, 2017, finally connected Tampa Bay to the Bay area. The route had previously been the most underserved in the country.
DECEMBER 31, 2017: The final passenger numbers for 2017 tallied 19,154,957, an all-time record for the Airport that surpassed the previous record set in 2007. TPA broke another record in 2018 and is on track do so again in 2019.
FEBRUARY 14, 2018: The Airport put an exclamation point on Phase 1 of the expansion with the grand opening of the SkyConnect and Rental Car Center. The two projects, which represented the lion’s share of Phase 1, were central to reducing the Airport’s congestion and expanding the overall capacity. Sixteen months later, leaders broke ground on innovative express lanes around the terminal, a key component of Phase 2 of the Master Plan expansion.
FEBRUARY 16, 2019: About a year after the debut of the Rental Car Center and SkyConnect, TPA cut the ribbon on its ambitious new concessions program, featuring 70 new shops and restaurants. The new program gave the Airport more of a focus on local shops and restaurants, helping to infuse a taste of the Tampa Bay region.
Wanna share one of your favorite TPA memories from the last decade? Comment below!