Tampa International Airport “Aggressively Recovers”
There is no doubt that Tampa International Airport – like airports across the country – has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the airport is taking steps for an aggressive recovery.
This was a key point shared by Veronica Cintron, vice president of airport communications, during a Zoom presentation in early June to members of the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce.
As more Americans get vaccinated – and with the summer vacation season here – air travel is on the rise.
Tampa Airport, known as TPA, handled around 62,000 passengers on Memorial Day Monday weekend, making it the second busiest day in the pandemic. The only day that had been busiest so far was Wrestlemania Sunday, which saw 66,000 passengers in a single day, Cintron said.
“Leisure is recovering much more aggressively than business,” she told members of the North Tampa Bay Chamber.
Initial expectations were that it would take two to three years for business travel to return.
But, Cintron said, “I’m telling you, being at the airport you start to see these people wearing their logo shirts, they’re wearing corporate clothes. They come with their hand luggage and you know they are business travelers. We didn’t expect to see this now. “
Business travel is now expected to pick up faster than initially thought, she said.
“We are recovering aggressively. We will be back to 22 million customers very soon, by September we may be back, ”she said.
While traffic is now picking up, the bottom has dropped in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The airport carried 22 million passengers in 2019, leading to the pandemic.
“At the beginning, we were touched. Think about the impact when you see, at worst, in this pandemic we saw maybe 1,500 passengers in one day. In one day, for an entire airport complex. Think about it, ”she said.
“It was strange. It was like a ghost town.
“So for our retailers and restaurants, and the various dealerships that operate out of the airport, a lot of them have had to close. It was not sustainable to be open, when no one is coming, ”Cintron said.
The airport’s revenue losses exceeded $ 300 million, Cintron said, which is magnified because the airport is a regional economic engine.
“During the closures across the country, people were still flying here. They wanted to be outside. They wanted to enjoy these outdoor attractions, ”Cintron said, and they wanted to enjoy the beautiful beaches in the area.
TPA was also one of the first to develop a comprehensive safety program. He installed acrylic barriers, instituted social distancing for seats and demanded masks.
“We have led the nation to do this, truly creating a model for other airports to follow in a time of great uncertainty,” Cintron said, and the airport’s efforts have led to international recognition.
The financial well-being of the airport has a ripple effect on the region.
As the 28th busiest airport in the country, TPA directly supports 10,500 jobs and 121,000 jobs indirectly. Its impact on the economy is estimated at $ 14 billion.
The three largest airlines, by market share at TPA, are Southwest, American and Delta. The most popular markets for passengers traveling from TPA are New York, Chicago and Atlanta, Cintron said.
There are approximately 500 daily flights to TPA, including 90 non-stop destinations. The airport has around 30 international destinations.
As TPA looks to the future, it is always looking to improve its services, Cintron said.
Recently, Breeze Airways selected TPA for its inaugural market with non-stop flights from Tampa to Charleston, South Carolina. The airline plans to operate 10 inaugural routes from TPA, primarily to cities currently unserved including Louisville, Kentucky and Richmond, Virginia.
“When there is competition, it benefits all of us,” Cintron said.
TPA’s international travel is starting to pick up, but it’s happening gradually, Cintron said.
Copa Airline, which serves Panama City, Panama, returned to the airport in early June, and British Airways was due to return later this month. Grand Cayman expects to return this fall.
However, all of those plans are subject to change due to uncertainty over international travel at this point in the pandemic, Cintron said.
TPA continues to plan for the future.
“The expansion of the airport is a key part of making sure we are ready to accommodate more passengers,” she said.
“Whether we are an airport with 22 million passengers per year, or an airport with 25 million passengers per year, we will have the infrastructure to support this type of traffic and demand. “
And, whether it’s building a new airside, adding an office tower, expanding the parking lot, or increasing shopping and dining options, the focus is on the customer experience. , Cintron said.
“If our customers are happy, we are doing our job and we are very proud of it.
“We didn’t get the title of America’s Favorite Airport because we offered three-star service. Everything we do at Tampa International Airport, we do as five star service to our customers, ”Cintron said.
Tampa International Airport Rewards
1st Mid-Sized Airport in the United States, 2019, Wall Street Journal
2nd major airport in North America, JD Power
# 2 Best Major Airport, USA Today
Top 3 airports in North America; Top 5 airports in the world, Airports Council International
No. 4 Best Airport in the United States, Travel and Leisure
Source: Tampa International Airport
Tampa International Airport by the Numbers
- Four tracks / 58 doors
- 70 shops and restaurants
- 23,000 parking spaces
- 500 daily flight operations
- Over 90 non-stop destinations
- 30 international destinations
Posted on June 30, 2021