TAMPA – Total Passenger traffic at Tampa International Airport (TPA) has increased by 3.7 percent in May, buoyed by a 16.7 percent increase in international traffic. According to airport officials, this appears to be the beginning of a stronger summer period at TPA.
Year to date through May, TPA handled over 7.4 million passengers, a 1 percent increase in traffic versus last year but it is the summer projections which have airport officials optimistic. Damian Brooke, TPA’s Vice President of Business Planning said, “We had a very strong May with our flights over 83 percent full, and we are projecting continued strong growth throughout the summer period. For the July-September period, we are expecting approximately 4.5 percent more passengers than last year on flights which were already heavily booked.”
More importantly, after two tough years the Airport is beginning to see increases in inbound visitor traffic. According to Brooke, “Tampa visitor traffic increased by 4.4 percent in May compared to May 2010, following a 1.8 percent increase in April. These numbers correspond with published increases in the numbers of overnight visitors in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. After two years of continuous declines during 2008 and 2009, and slow growth in 2010, we are now beginning to see growth trends which are making us optimistic for the remainder of 2011”.
Christopher Minner, TPA’s Vice-President of Marketing stated, “This is a very encouraging result. These positive numbers are due in part to the strong performance of British Airways’ daily service to London, and the new AirTran and JetBlue services to San Juan. The timing of this passenger growth couldn’t be better as we reach out to the world’s airlines to promote our market and our newly approved Air Service Incentive Program which can provide millions of dollars of support for new service.”