Tampa International Airport (TPA), just six miles outside of the downtown district, stands as the region’s major hub for domestic and international travel. Centrally located in the Westshore business district, TPA is easily accessible from all parts of Hillsborough County and surrounding counties.
The Tampa International Airport marketing team has aggressively acquired new routes over the past several years, both to international destinations and to the West Coast of the United States, to connect Tampa Bay to the world’s business hubs. That approach has doubled its international flights and grown the airport’s passenger traffic by 18 percent since 2010. Tampa’s airport has transformed into one of the busiest in the southeastern United States while remaining one of the easiest to access in the world. And business travel is largely responsible for that growth. Forty-four percent of travelers out of TPA are business travelers – more than Miami (30 percent) and Orlando (27 percent).
Approximately 17 million people each year are served by major air carriers at Tampa International Airport, including Southwest, jetBlue, British Airways, Copa Airlines, Lufthansa, Alaska Airlines, and Edelweiss Air, on more than 200 daily flights. With over 80 nonstop flights to domestic and international destinations, travelers are able to get where they want and need to go quickly and easily. Nonstop destinations currently include Atlanta, New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Montreal, London, Zurich, Reykjavik, Frankfurt, and Panama City. Each new route Tampa International Airport added over the past several years has grown after its first season of flights, and airlines readily consider Tampa an important airport on their route map.
In addition to offering convenient flights to major U.S. markets and select international locations, Tampa International landed in the top 50 for most affordable airports. According to the survey, Tampa International was more affordable to fly in and out of than other top airports, such as Logan International (BOS), John F. Kennedy International (JFK), and Miami International (MIA).
Currently, Tampa International is undergoing major improvements to its facilities and amenities, working to become one of the world’s premier airports. TPA’s Master Plan includes an expanded main terminal capable of accommodating more than 34 million passengers every year, with new outdoor-indoor decks and more open space near the shuttle lobbies and shopping areas. The first phase of the Master Plan also includes the implementation of an automated people mover connecting the main terminal to the new, expanded rental car center, as well as roadway and facility improvements. The first phase of the expansion is expected to boost tourism spending in the region by $620 million over the next 20 years.
The airport’s team continues to increase concessions, bringing more of the local flavor and culture to TPA. The expansion project, which has received $194 million from Gov. Rick Scott, is also slated to connect to regional public transportation, to create an additional terminal with domestic and international gates, and to increase opportunities for commercial development near the airport.
TPA continues to rank as one of the best aviation facilities in the world and as a preferred location for business travelers, due to its attention to the customer experience, high-quality amenities, and ease of navigation. TPA has raked in the accolades over the past several year. Travel + Leisure magazine ranked TPA the 2nd best airport in the United States. The Airports Council International (ACI) also ranked TPA the 2nd best airport in North America and the 5th best airport globally in the 15 to 25 million passenger category based on customer satisfaction. A CNNgo.com poll named TPA as the 6th “most loved” airport in the world, and it was the only North American airport to make the list. Tampa International also found itself at #2 for the Best Airports in America: Reader’s Choice Awards, according to Condé Nast.
Hillsborough County is home to three other general aviation airports: Peter O. Knight Airport, located five minutes from downtown Tampa on Davis Island; Plant City Airport, located on I-4; and Tampa Executive Airport, located five minutes east of downtown near the I-4/I-75 corridor.