We answer common questions about our Hurricane Ian response
How does the airport determine when to close?
The Airport’s primary mission is ensuring the safe movement of people and aircraft in and out of our airport every day. When sustained winds reach 50 m.p.h., aircraft and critical airport systems cannot function. As such, depending on the weather event and its timing, a suspension time has to be identified well before these stronger winds arrive to allow time to not only secure the airport infrastructure that could be damaged by strong winds, but ensure passengers and employees have time to get home and even evacuate if necessary.
When will you reopen?
The Airport will reopen after damage assessments are made, which begins as soon as it is safe to do so. TPA closely coordinates the reopening of the Airport with its partners based on roadway safety, facility readiness, and staffing. Staffing with critical partners like TSA and FAA is mission critical to reopening. Even though the immediate area around the airport may be traversable, areas where employees live may not, delaying their ability to safely get to work and assist in reconstituting operations.
How do I know if my weekend flight is still happening?
Please check with your airline for the latest information on your flight status. Tampa International Airport does not determine airline schedules, only whether the facilities are available for use. Our goal is to reopen as quickly, but, above all, as safely as possible.
How does the airport deal with flooding?
TPA has a complex and effective drainage system that runs throughout our grounds, designed to keep water off runways, taxiways and airfield facilities. While heavy rain or storm surge may temporarily flood the airfield to an extent, it is designed to drain expediently to resume normal operations. However, with extreme inundation as could occur with a major hurricane, getting water to recede quickly may take time.
What happens to my car if I’m traveling and I left it in the garage?
Travelers may leave their cars in any of our parking facilities as normal until their return.
Is the Airport built to withstand a hurricane?
TPA and our facilities are constructed for the weather that Florida can anticipate any time during the year, and are built to withstand hurricanes. Because our facilities were built over decades, some facilities are able to withstand stronger weather impacts than others.
What happens to stranded passengers once the Airport suspends operations?
If travelers are unable to depart as scheduled and must remain in Tampa after 5 p.m., there will be a shuttle available to take them to a nearby shelter. We encourage travelers to explore available lodging and ground transportation options, including rideshare apps and hotel shuttles as the Airport cannot guarantee transportation.
Can I stay in the Airport?
Passengers may not remain at TPA during a storm. TPA is not a shelter location. Information about emergency shelters, evacuation zones, storm preparation and more is available from the Hillsborough County government at hcflgov.net/staysafe. TPA Police Officers and Guest Services Representatives will be on-site helping direct travelers who need shelter to the nearest open locations as well as other county resources.
Are any employees staying behind to weather the storm?
Yes. The Airport and many airport partners have dedicated staff who remain at the Airport to protect the facility and support reconstitution of operations and damage assessments following storms.
What do they do and what special training do they have?
These storm riders have a wide variety of necessary skills to keep the Airport working, from maintenance to operations to communications. There is no special storm training involved; they are staff volunteers who will be performing the jobs they do on a daily basis to keep the Airport running smoothly and efficiently.
Does the airport plan regularly for hurricanes?
Airport staff regularly train for weather events and other situations to keep operations running smoothly. We review Airport-wide storm preparedness several times per year so the plan is ready to put into place when it is needed.