Ahead of remodel, Tampa airport busier than ever

When one thinks of Southern airline hubs, Atlanta and Charlotte may immediately spring to mind. However, posting rising revenues and the highest percentage of seats filled in its history, Tampa International Airport is a burgeoning travel center. With a billion dollar construction plan set to be completed by 2017, the sky's the limit for expansion and activity at TPA.

For four years running, the airport has posted steady growth, with a 7 percent increase in revenues for 2014, totaling $197 million. The new figures were announced last week at an aviation authority finance committee meeting. Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano said the encouraging new numbers are just the beginning for an air travel boom in Tampa. 

"This unprecedented growth is a testament to what we can accomplish in the Tampa Bay market when we work together to make it happen," said Lopano. "The support of our Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board, our community partners, our new and existing airlines and our local government leaders has been critical to Tampa International Airport's success in 2014."

Airport executives have much to celebrate: In July and August, 87.9 and 86.2 percent of seats on flights from Tampa were full, an all-time high. Serving 17.3 million passengers, the airport posted a 20 percent capacity increase in international travel. Overall, international traffic through Tampa has grown 53.3 percent since 2010. The plans for expansion and redesign are slated to maintain economic development for the next two or three decades. 

Unveiled in January, terminal renovations will give TPA a modern new look that will sport airy, open interiors and outdoor space for waiting and dining, a perfect complement to Tampa executive suites. The first phase of construction, set to open for $250 million in bids, will begin the process of building Tampa an airport for the future. 

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