|Tampa International Airport|
|USGS aerial photo - 10 May 2002|
|IATA: TPA ICAO: KTPA FAA LID: TPA|
|Owner||Hillsborough County Aviation Authority|
|Elevation AMSL||26 ft / 8 m|
|Aircraft operations||279,183 (2,008)|
|Based aircraft||90 (2,008)|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA, ICAO: KTPA, FAA LID: TPA) is a public airport six miles west of downtown Tampa, in Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. This airport is publicly owned by Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. It has been praised for its architecture and Landside/Airside design of a central terminal ("landside") connected by people movers to satellite gates ("airsides"), a pioneering concept when designed in the late 1960s. The airport was called Drew Field Municipal Airport until 1952.
Tampa International Airport is a hub for Silver Airways under the United Express brand. It is also the main aircraft and maintenance base for World Airways and North American Airlines. Today, Southwest Airlines carries the largest share of TPA passengers, operating a peak-season schedule of over 90 daily flights. The airport presently serves 73 non-stop destinations, including international service to Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and to destinations throughout the Caribbean. The airport handled 16,820,859 passengers in 2012, making it the 31st busiest airport by passenger movements in North America. International Plaza and Bay Street is adjacent to the airport. It 2011, it was called one of the 10 best airports by CNNGo.
Tampa Bay was the birthplace of commercial airline service, when pioneer aviator Tony Jannus flew the inaugural flight of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line on January 1, 1914, from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Tampa using a Benoist Flying Boat the first scheduled commercial airline flight in the world using a heavier-than-air airplane.
In 1928 the city completed the 160-acre (65 ha) Drew Field six miles (10 km) west of Downtown Tampa. The more popular Peter O. Knight Airport was opened on Davis Islands near Downtown Tampa in 1935, where both Eastern and National Airlines operated until 1946.
The United States Army Air Corps began negotiating for the use Drew Field in 1939 during the buildup of military forces prior to World War II. In 1940, the City of Tampa leased Drew Field to the U.S. Government for 25 years, or until the end of the "National emergency". During the war, the Air Force expanded and modernized the airport. The airfield was used by Third Air Force and renamed it Drew Army Airfield. Third Air Force used it as a training center by 120,000 combat air crews and flew antisubmarine patrols from the airfield. There was one accident in 1943 that killed five fliers. Despite this, Drew Field set a safety record for the Third Air Force in 1945 after 100,000 flying hours had been completed over a period of 10 months without a fatal incident. The aircraft operated included the B-17, C-47, AT-6, B-25, and others.
After World War II Drew Field was given back to the City of Tampa. The Peter O. Knight Airport and Drew Field reversed roles as the main Tampa Airport because Drew Field was greatly expanded by the U.S. Army Air Force during the war years. Airlines (Eastern and National Airlines) moved to Drew Field from Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Island, which was too small to handle the Douglas DC-4, DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation prop-liners. During this period the airlines were housed in the former Base Operations Building.
Trans Canada Airlines inaugurated international flights in 1950 and Drew Field was renamed Tampa International Airport. The airport's second terminal opened in 1952 near the intersection of Columbus Drive and West Shore Blvd.
The April 1957 OAG shows 30 departures a day on Eastern: nonstops to MDW-YIP-CLE-IDL-BOS, seven nonstops to Atlanta and 18 within Florida. National had 26 departures including seven nonstops beyond Florida (to HOU-HAV-DCA-IDL and three to MSY). Trans-Eastern had 12 departures and Mackey had two DC-3s, none nonstop beyond Florida. Trans-Canada had thirteen nonstops a week to Toronto or Montreal.
The 1952 terminal, built for three airlines, was swamped after the Civil Aeronautics Board granted Capital, Delta, Northeast, Northwest and Trans World Airlines authority to fly to Tampa in the late 1950s. An annex was built east of the terminal for the new carriers.
Turbine-powered flights began in 1959 on Eastern Air Lines' Lockheed L-188 Electra; in 1960 National, Eastern and Delta Air Lines began jet flights with the Douglas DC-8 (Delta was first, with a Chicago nonstop in May or June). Weekly flights to Mexico City began in 1961 on Pan American.
Congestion was a problem at the 1952 terminal as the airlines began to replace their piston airliners with larger jets; the terminal was again expanded.
During the early 1960s, the aviation authority began planning a replacement terminal in an undeveloped site at the airport. Airport leaders chose the Landside/Airside design in 1965 after a study.
Construction on the new terminal designed by Reynolds, Smith & Hills began in 1968 between the airport's parallel jet-capable runways. Prior to its opening on April 15, 1971 60,000 people toured the new facility during a two-day open house. National Airlines Flight 36 from Los Angeles was the first to arrive at the terminal. After touching down at 05:26 am the jet taxied to Airside E.
The airport's people mover system was the first such system in the world. The original eight trains were built by Westinghouse.
On July 15, 1972 the 227-foot (69 m) tall Air Traffic Control Tower opened, the tallest in the United States. The Host/Marriott Airport Hotel and its revolving rooftop restaurant opened in December 1973, with triple-paned windows and sound-proof guest rooms.
Northwest Airlines and National Airlines brought the Jumbo Jet to the airport late in 1971 with the introduction of the Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10. This was followed by the Lockheed Tristar a year later by Eastern Air Lines. National Airlines began trans Atlantic DC-10 service to Amsterdam and Paris in 1977. In 1991 Airside B closed following the demise of Eastern Airlines.
During the following decades, the airport was expanded to handle more traffic and additional airlines. In 1996 Airsides C and D were remodeled. The interiors of both satellites were refurbished and the original Westinghouse shuttles were replaced with Bombardier Innovia APM 100 trains. During this time, all the airlines from both facilities were housed in Airside E. Upon completion of the renovations, the airlines returned to their original locations and Airside E was closed for good. The Landside Terminal was also remodeled numerous times during the 1980s and 1990s.
Both Delta Air Lines and US Airways opened maintenance bases at the airport. Both bases closed following the September 11 attacks and the airline struggles that ensued. Alabama based Pemco World Air Services now occupies the former US Airways hangar performing MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) services for the Southwest Airlines B737 fleet, the jetBlue A320 fleet, and the United Airlines B747, B757, B767 and B777 fleets. On April 1, 2010 a press release announced that a lease agreement was reached to allow Pemco to lease the second hangar formerly used by Delta Air Lines. Pemco expects to be operational by September 1, 2010 and will then occupy both maintenance facilities at the airport.
Tampa International Airport's Landside/Airside terminal was the first of its type in the world. There is a central Landside Terminal where baggage and ticketing functions take place. The Landside Terminal is surrounded by four Airside satellites where airliner embarkment and disembarkment occur. Each Airside is connected to the Landside Terminal via an elevated automated people mover (APM) system which employs 16 Bombardier Innovia APM 100 Shuttle Cars. TPA was the first airport in the world to deploy a fully automated, driver-less people mover system and is host to Bombardier Transportation's longest-running APM system. The terminal was originally designed to limit the walking distance between the automobile and airliner to 700 feet (210 m); today, it has increased to about 1,000 feet (300 m), due mostly in part to the larger, more modern airside buildings which have replaced the original, smaller structures.
Today, there are four active airsides (A, C, E and F) with 62 gates. All were constructed after 1985 and all airsides include a food court and gift shop, and outdoor smoking patios. Airsides E and F contain duty free shops in addition to the regular gift shops to serve passengers arriving or departing on international flights. As of 2011, the security screening area in each airside is equipped with Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) walk-thru detection machines, made by L3 Communications, whose devices use millimeter wave technology and not backscatter radiation. A brief description of each airside and the airlines they occupy are listed below, including the major cities/hubs that each airline serves from TPA.
Seasonal: Halifax, Montréal-Trudeau
|AirTran Airways operated by Southwest Airlines||Akron/Canton, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Buffalo, Columbus, Dayton, Houston-Hobby (begins June 2, 2013), Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Raleigh/Durham (begins June 2, 2013)
Seasonal: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
|American Airlines||Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York-JFK
|Cayman Airways||Grand Cayman||F|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia
|Delta Connection operated by ExpressJet||Raleigh/Durham||E|
|Delta Connection operated by Shuttle America||Seasonal: New York-LaGuardia||E|
|Frontier Airlines||Princeton/Trenton (NJ), Philadelphia-Wilmington (begins July 4, 2013)
|JetBlue Airways||Boston, Hartford/Springfield (begins October 24, 2013), New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Newark, San Juan, Washington-National, White Plains||A|
|Southwest Airlines||Albany, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham (AL), Buffalo, Chicago-Midway, Columbus, Denver, Flint, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford/Springfield, Houston-Hobby, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Key West, Las Vegas, Long Island/Islip, Louisville, Manchester (NH), Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Rochester (NY), St. Louis, San Antonio, San Juan
|Spirit Airlines||Atlantic City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale
|Sky King||Charter: Havana||F|
|Sun Country Airlines||Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul||E|
|United Airlines||Chicago-O'Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles||A|
|United Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines||Seasonal: Cleveland||A|
|United Express operated by Silver Airways||Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Pensacola, Tallahassee, West Palm Beach||A|
|US Airways||Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington-National||F|
|US Airways Express operated by Republic Airlines||Seasonal: Washington-National||F|
Seasonal: Halifax, Ottawa
|1||Atlanta, GA||964,000||AirTran, Delta|
|2||Charlotte, NC||376,000||US Airways|
|3||Philadelphia, PA||320,000||Southwest, US Airways|
|4||Newark, NJ||310,000||JetBlue, United|
|5||Dallas/Fort Worth, TX||309,000||American, Spirit|
|6 (tie)||New York, NY (JFK)||299,000||American, Delta, JetBlue|
|6 (tie)||Baltimore, MD||299,000||Southwest|
|8||Detroit, MI||282,000||Delta, Spirit|
|9||Chicago, IL (ORD)||274,000||American, Sprit, United|
|Rank||Airline||Average daily flights|
|3||Delta Air Lines||31|
|6 (tie)||American Airlines||17|
|6 (tie)||JetBlue Airways||17|
|FedEx Express||Memphis, Newark, Indianapolis|
|Flight Express, Inc.||Miami, Orlando|
The original TPA airsides were designed in the mid-1960s as four identical facilities. The concept was later scrapped for unknown reasons and the facilities were eventually built around the requirements of their then primary tenant airlines. Thus creating the four dissimilar facilities that stood from their opening in 1971 to 2000. Each airside building was three stories tall and included a minimum of ten gates, a cocktail lounge, snack bar, and gift shop. Each airside was maintained by the airline for which it was built until 1999. All of the facilities (except Airside B) were renovated in the early/mid-1990s but received no further modifications during their life span. All 4 of the original airside buildings have been demolished and either re-built or the space re-used as noted below.
Below is a brief description of the four original airsides and the airlines that occupied them throughout the years. The bolded airlines indicate the primary (anchor) tenants for each facility.
Today an overnight aircraft hardstand and an automated baggage sorting facility for Airside A sit on the former site. The site could also one day house an intermodal center that would allow passengers to connect to various mass transit options, including Tampa's proposed light rail system.
Today, TPA Airport handles about 16.6 million passengers per year ) and improvements currently in progress will increase capacity to 25-million passengers a year. The airport's car rental market is in the top five among all U.S. Airports. And the facility continues to receive consistent top-ranking reviews from numerous publications. In 2007 and 2008, Zagat Survey ranked TPA the "Best Overall U.S. Airport," while placing it second best overall in 2009 and 2010. In 2008 Condé Nast Traveler recognized TPA as the second-best airport in the world, just two-tenths of a point behind the first place winner. JD Power and Associates have also given TPA Airport consistently high customer satisfaction ratings over the years. In November 2011, CNN ranked TPA sixth among ten of the world's most loved airports, being the only one on the list from the US. Presently, the largest passenger aircraft serving TPA on a scheduled basis is the Boeing 777.
At this time, new runway is being planned (17-35) to increase capacity in fair-weather conditions. In addition, a second Landside Airside Terminal will be built to the north of the current facility, allowing the airport to serve over 50-million passengers a year by 2025. Construction of this facility was originally slated to begin in 2010, with completion set to October 2015. However, the St. Petersburg Times reported on November 7, 2008 that the airport authority is no longer pursuing the original planned dates due to the current state of the US and global economies. The current struggle of the airline industry, including the recent merger by Delta and Northwest, has forced passenger enplanements to level off, and slowly decline at the airport. Additionally, with more possible airline mergers on the way, TPA Airport may not require drastic expansion for another five to six years. The revised start date of construction of the north terminal is now estimated at around 2015. According to the Tampa Tribune, passenger levels dropped by 14% in January 2009 
Tampa International Airport covers an area of 3,300 acres (1,300 ha) at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m) above mean sea level. It has three runways: 10/28 is 6,999 by 150 feet (2,133 x 46 m) with an asphalt/concrete surface; 19L/1R is 8,300 by 150 feet (2,530 x 46 m) with an asphalt/concrete surface; 19R/1L is 11,002 by 150 feet (3,353 x 46 m) with a concrete surface. On January 13, 2011 the runway designations changed due to a shift in the magnetic headings. 9/27 became 10/28, 18R/36L became 1L/19R, 18L/36R became 1R/19L.
For the 12-month period ending May 30, 2008, the airport had 279,183 aircraft operations, an average of 764 per day: 85% scheduled commercial, 14% general aviation and <1% military. At that time there were 90 aircraft based at this airport: 66% jet, 19% single-engine, 3% multi-engine and 12% helicopter.
In January, 2011, Rep. Kathy Castor announced that Tampa International Airport has been designated an official "entry/exit" point for travels to and from Cuba, allowing for Cuban-Americans to travel directly from Tampa to Cuba on chartered flights. Castor expects the TPA administration to recruit charter operators to establish service to Cuba over coming months as final regulatory clearance is granted. On March 7, 2011, federal officials gave TIA the green light to begin charter flights to Cuba.
Airport conveniences that are free of charge include passenger paging, wireless Internet access, cell phone waiting lot with flight information, shuttle service from the economy garage, real-time flight information and travelers aid services. Other services include eateries located before passenger checkpoints, touch screen information kiosks, information about local events and outdoor smoking areas. In June 2012, the airport debuted several distinctly-Tampa restaurants and bars in both the landside terminal and the airsides. Among these eateries now represented at the airport are the iconic Ybor City Columbia Restaurant, downtown's Mise en Place's First Flight wine bar, and Cigar City Brewing's brewpub, which features an on-site produced pale ale named after Tampa aviation pioneer Tony Jannus.
The logo represents the blue waters of Tampa Bay with a jetliner flying into a downtown Tampa sunset. It is known as the "Spirit of Flight". The jetliner was modeled after those once used for supersonic transportat the time the logo was created in the 1970s, it was during an era when it was thought that supersonic aircraft would replace conventional jets as a mode of air travel.
Since its opening on April 15, 1971, Tampa International Airport has used a special color-coding system throughout the terminal complex. The Baggage Claim Areas and Ticket Counters are color-coded Blue and Red. Airlines are assigned a color depending on their location within the Landside Terminal Building. The airlines found in the south side of the terminal are color-coded blue. The carriers located in the north side are color-coded red. The codes were also assigned names to assist color-blind patrons. The Blue side names are Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart. The Red side names are Igor Sikorsky and Chuck Yeager. The Long Term Parking Garage also uses the special color-coding system. The four elevator cores have names and colors to make it easier for customers to remember where they've parked. Wright Brothers - Orange, Tony Jannus - Purple, Robert Goddard - Green and Charles Lindbergh - Brown. The Economy Parking Garage (EPG) is also split into two sections Purple and Gold. The newest phase, opened in time for the 2008 holiday season, will be Green and Orange. The EPG cores have no names at the present.
The Landside Terminal was designed with convenience in mind. Express elevators and escalators keep passenger traffic moving smoothly, with few bottlenecks.
Level 1 (Baggage Claim) contains all inbound baggage facilities and baggage belts. The Blue Rental Car facility was relocated from its original Bag Claim location, to a consolidated facility beneath the long term parking garage in 2002. On November 15, 2006 a new Red Rental Car facility and garage opened adjacent to the Marriott. In late 2008, renovation of the Baggage Claim began. Improvements include new baggage carousels and an inbound baggage screening system. This project was completed in 2010. In 2013, plans for a consolidated car rental center were announced, to be located on the south end of the property and connected to the terminal via a people mover. 
Level 2 (Ticketing) contains all ticketing/check-in functions. The level also contains a Charter desk reserved for flights that do not normally utilize TPA. The Ticketing area received a major renovation/expansion in 2002, and again in 2013.
Level 3 (Transfer Level) includes the airside shuttle stations and a shopping area known as the Airport Galleria. The airport Marriott Hotel is adjacent to the main terminal. Tampa's facilities are almost entirely housed in the public access main terminal. The facilities are mostly operated and run by three airport retail companies - HMS Host, Stellar Partners, Bay Area Concessions and OSI Restaurant Partners.
When the airport opened its doors in 1971, the Service Building went into operation as well. It housed the very first Communications Center, Police dispatch, employee cafeteria and maintenance locker rooms. The building is located across from the Red Baggage and Ticketing levels. It was primarily intended to house mechanical equipment such as the chiller plant and electrical transformers. Since then it has been expanded to two levels which was in the original design in 1968. Today it houses the original facilities with the addition of offices, rental car counters, badging and a receptionist desk. The Police department/Lost & Found has a lobby on level two (ticketing level) for walk-in lost & found requests.
Currently, over 20,000 parking spaces are available at the airport. These spaces are split between the Short Term Parking Garage, the Long Term Parking Garage, and the Economy Parking Garage. As of right now, there is an ongoing expansion of the Economy Parking Garages which is in its second phase of construction. Also, the SunPass Plus program, first introduced at Orlando International Airport, is being implemented at TPA in stages. In early 2009, the Economy Parking Garages began using the program, in which customers can use their SunPass transponders to pay for parking. The program was expanded to the Short & Long-Term garages during the summer of 2009. In addition, TIA also provides "self-serve" lanes in which customers can pay with their credit card instead of waiting in line for the cash lanes.
Levels 4-9 of the Landside Terminal Building house the short term parking garage. The garage was built with the airport complex in 1971 for added passenger convenience. Originally three levels, the garage was expanded in 1982 to six levels and contains 3,612 spaces.
Long term parking was originally a large lot sitting on what is today, the present-day long term parking garage. The garage was built in several phases from 1990 to 1997 after increased passenger traffic swamped the parking lot beyond capacity. A monorail (situated on Level Five of the garage) connects passengers to and from the short term parking garage (Level Five) and the Landside Terminal. The garage can hold a total of 7,635 spaces on six levels.
On November 1, 2005 phase I-A of the garage opened to the public and then on May 19, 2006 phase I-B opened. The garage is 8,043 spaces large and is divided into two color-coded sections - purple and gold (yellow). There is also a surface lot and overflow lot for use during the holidays. A free shuttle service takes passengers to the terminal drop-off twenty-four hours a day. Construction began in early 2008 on phase II which will be an exact copy of the first phase. Ultimately, it will be connected to the terminal via an automated people mover system.
In an effort to decrease congestion within the Landside Terminal, particularly the baggage claim areas, a cell phone waiting lot was built alongside one of the remote overflow lots. It includes two large four panel flight status boards, showing real-time arrival information. This allows awaiting family members and friends of arriving passengers to wait in their vehicles until the passenger calls. Then the arriving passenger(s) can be picked up curbside at the Landside Terminal without creating curbside congestion problems. The lot has restrooms, WiFi, recorded CCTV surveillance and around-the-clock police patrols. Construction began in early 2008 to expand the cell phone waiting lot and was completed in November of that same year. The lot contains approximately 125 striped spaces.
The monorail was installed in 1991 when the new long term parking garage was built and opened on December 16. It was the first of its kind in the world to include six driver less, electrically propelled cars that are completely computer controlled. The system was also the first to have active switches and it is monitored from the airport's communications center. There are four long term stations. The Monorail circles the long term parking garage and connects to the short term garage via an elevated bridge to stop at four additional stations. The Monorail is free to use and runs twenty-four hours a day except for a once-a-week maintenance shut-down in the overnight hours. Bombardier Transportation maintains the system by contract and the Aviation Authority owns it. Thales Rail Signalling Solutions won a contract in 2008 to completely upgrade the computer control system. The upgrade was implemented and tested for an entire year. The only visible change to passengers is the station graphics which show the position of each monorail car and display system status information.
Plans are currently in the works for the construction of an intermodal facility located on airport premises. This would allow passengers to better connect to the number of proposed bus routes by both HART and PSTA. In addition, a light rail system is being planned for the Tampa area, with a link to TPA Airport from Downtown Tampa and the WestShore district.
The Airport's public art program was established in 1998 to enhance the traveling public's experience and to bring forth Florida's history and culture. A committee selects the art through a jury process.
The Airport also has a collection of rotating work and exhibits on loan in addition to the permanent collections. They include the exhibit at Airside A security screening and the gallery in the arcade to the Marriott Hotel.
In 1943, five people were killed when their B-26 crashed on a flight from Avon Park to Eglin Field. The pilot attempted an emergency landing at Drew Field and overshot the runway. Two others on board survived. This occurred one hour after an A-24 flying out of Drew Field crashed in Mullet Key near St. Petersburg, a bombing range at the time. The pilot ditched the plane and lived but the gunner bailed out and drowned.
On November 6, 1986, an Eastern Airlines Captain, George Baines, Age 56, was flying in his private aircraft, Piper PA-23, (N2185P) from his home to Tampa International to catch a flight. As he approached Tampa International's 36L (now 1L) with 1/16 Mile Visibility in Fog, he declared a Missed Approach and went around to try it again. On the second attempt, he touched down on a parallel Taxiway and ultimately collided with a Pan-Am 727 that was taxing on this taxiway. Mr. Baines lost his life in the accident and was the only fatality. No other injuries were reported.
On June 27, 2009, US Airways flight 1241 underwent a rough landing causing the front tire to blow. Subsequently the blown tire caused the landing gear to collapse. None of the passengers or crew on board reported any injuries. However, television pitchman Billy Mays was on this flight and was hit on the head, possibly by falling luggage out of the overhead compartments, during the rough landing; he was found dead the following morning. No evidence of interior or exterior head trauma was discovered during the autopsy. It was then found out that Billy Mays died of a drug addiction.
On the morning of Saturday March 16, 2013, the body of 31-year old Chad Wolfe was found in the bottom of an elevator shaft at the Armstrong Elevators. Wolfe was a Pennsylvania resident who had flown into the airport the previous night. 
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