Tampa Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Tampa Airport

Tampa is a city in the state of Florida, and it’s airport is considered as one of the largest in the country of the United States of America. It handles approximately sixteen million passengers per annum, and has a significant number of aircraft movements as well. The airport is rated as the thirtieth busiest in the country for passenger traffic. Formerly known as the Drew Field Municipal Airport, it is now the Tampa International Airport, and is recognised by its IATA code of TPA and its ICAO code of KTPA. The airport is modern, with many facilities for its passengers, it is a hub for the airline carrier Silver Airways and has previously been voted as the best-loved airport in the world.

Tampa’s airport is located at the physical address of 4100 George J. Bean Parkway, approximately 6 miles, or 11km from the Central Business District of the city. It is nearby to Tampa Heights and Egypt Lake, and on its western side is the Old Tampa Bay, which is crossed by the Interstate 275 and Highway 60, both of which are important access roads for the airport. The airport is also in Hillsborough County, and the city centre is just north of Hillsborough Bay. Visitors and passengers of the airport will find many parking areas available at the airport for their vehicles, all of which are considered to be as safe as possible, and reasonable in price. There is a short-term parking garage, a long-term parking garage and an economy car park, which is the cheapest place to park at the airport if staying for a couple of days or weeks. A new Cell Phone Lot is available as well, which many find to be particularly convenient.

Should passengers not wish to leave their vehicles at the airport, there are several forms of public and private ground transportation options available. From downtown Tampa public buses operated by HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) run every half an hour, or a private shuttle service can be arranged with SuperShuttle. Red Coach has direct services to the airport as well. Yellow Cab and United Cab are the official taxi companies of the airport, and both operate at the same rates. A taxi, although more expensive, is always considered as convenient.

Tampa Airport has been in existence since 1928, and was used by Eastern and National Airlines until 1946, when it was taken over by the Third Air Force during World War II. It was then named as the Drew Army Airfield. However, after the war was concluded, the airport was returned to the City of Tampa, and a couple of airline companies moved to it from the Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Island, since that this airport was too small to handle the latest aircraft carriers. International flights began at the airport in 1950, by Trans Canada Airlines, and the airport’s name was then changed to the Tampa International Airport. In the 1950’s, another terminal opened at the airport and a number of departures were available per day to several locations. The new terminal, however, quickly became congested, and it was expanded to help control the increasing levels of passenger traffic, but there was no doubt that it would need to be completely replaced with a new design.

The Landside/Airside Terminal design was chosen for the airport, and its construction began in 1968. It was open for operations in 1971. Along with the new terminal, the airport’s APM system was created. APM stands for Automated People Mover, and this is the train at the airport that takes passengers from the Landside/Airside Terminal to the four satellite buildings (A, C, E and D). Tampa Airport was the first in the world to have an automated people mover system such as this one, and its original trains were built by Westinghouse. Today there are 16 Bombardiar Innovia APM 100 Shuttle Cars that run twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They are vital to the airport’s operations, as there is no other way to reach the satellite buildings. In the 1970’s as well, a new Air Traffic Control Tower was built, and was at that time the tallest in the United States of America. A new Marriott hotel was constructed as well, with a stunning revolving rooftop restaurant. The guest rooms are all sound-proofed to eliminate the noise of the aircraft.

In later years, the airport buildings were renovated and improved to more efficiently handle passenger traffic. Airsides C and D were remodelled, and the Landside Terminal was renovated. The airport has a 2013 Master Plan as well, which will ensure that it remains modern and adequate in size for its expected traffic. Improvements will be made to the airport’s car rental facilities, the main terminal (in particular the check-in facilities), the international terminal facilities and to the access roads of the airport. A new North Terminal is planned to be built on the northern side of the existing terminal building. It is scheduled to be operational by 2030, and will have a large area that is dedicated to international flights. The city of Tampa at this stage does not have a light rail system, however, there are plans to make this form of transport a reality. Light rail trains will then also run to the airport, and a station will be built at the current Landside/Airside Terminal.

The Landside/Airside Terminal of Tampa Airport as we know it today has three levels for passenger facilities, while its upper levels are used as the short-term parking garage (levels 4 – 9). Level 1 houses the baggage reclaim halls and Level 2 is used for ticketing counters and check-in facilities. The Transfer Level, or Level 3, includes the airside shuttle stations and the Airport Galleria, a large shopping area. Two food courts can be found here as well. The airport has many other facilities, as well, such as wireless internet connections, accessible restrooms, lost and found services and public telephones.

Airside A of the airport has gates 1-12 and gates 14-18, and is used by the airline carriers Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines. These airline companies fly some of the airport’s most popular routes, for example, to Newark, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York City, Detroit and Chicago. The new Airside C was opened in 2005 and has gates 30-45. It is home to AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines, the company with the largest share of passengers at the airport. Airside E was specifically built for Delta Air Lines, and contains a Delta Sky Club airline lounge, however, it is used by Air Canada as well. The airport’s international facilities are found at Airside F, with the airline companies British Airways, American Airlines, Cayman Airways, Edelweiss Air, Sky King, US Airways and WestJet. There are flights available to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in Canada, to London in the UK and to Zurich in Switzerland, as well as to Cancun in Mexico and to areas in the Caribbean. 16,732.051 passengers were handled in 2011.

Tampa Airport information is available at the following telephone numbers: General Information – 813-870-8700, Ground Transportation – 813-870-8718, Parking – 813-870-8790.