(January 3, 2019) Tampa International Airport had a very memorable and exciting 2018 and our local, national and international media took notice, sharing our news around the world. Here are some of the most popular stories covered over the past year.
“New rental car center, 'SkyConnect' air tram unveiled at Tampa International Airport” (ABC Action News, Feb. 14): On Valentine’s Day, TPA finally opened to the public its state-of-the-art Rental Car Center and SkyConnect train system. TPA staff handed out roses and live saxophone jazz music filled the SkyConnect station atrium as passengers learned to navigate the new layout.
“Its cargo business booming (thanks, Amazon!), Tampa International Airport makes room for more” (Tampa Bay Times, Oct. 4): With the addition of UPS and Amazon operations in recent years, cargo was a huge success story in 2018. In October, the Aviation Authority board moved to hire a firm to design and build a big expansion of cargo facilities on 70 acres east of the Main Terminal.
“Norwegian Air Announces New Flights from Tampa to London” (Forbes, June 25): Norwegian launched its twice-weekly service on Oct. 31, the first time TPA has had two airlines serving the same European city.
“Gate change: Frontier to move operations at Tampa International Airport” (Tampa Bay Business Journal, Nov. 14): Frontier’s addition of six flights in 2018, following 11 new flights in 2017, prompted the airline’s move from Airside C to the roomier Airside E. It wasn’t the only domestic airline that added to 2018’s story of growing passengers and air service.
“Tampa International Airport moved more than 21 million people this year” (Creative Loafing, Oct. 16): In Fiscal Year 2018, TPA logged a record 21,013,788 passengers — a 9.3 percent increase over FY17. It was the Airport’s first time surpassing the 20-million mark, and no surprise after experiencing its busiest spring break and summer on record.
“When being separated from your luggage is a good thing” (New York Times, Sept. 17): The Rental Car Center’s remote bag check service by Bags Inc. was a 2018 success story by itself, far surpassing expectations in usage, convenience and efficiency for passengers.
“Service Dog Gives Birth to 8 Puppies at Tampa Airport” (Huffington Post, May 29): When a traveling golden retriever went into labor at an Airside F gate, the unusual scene instantly made international headlines. ARFF paramedics safely delivered eight puppies.
“Delta will launch nonstop daily flights from Tampa to Amsterdam in May 2019” (Aug. 22, WTSP Ch. 10 News): TPA and Delta officials, along with community partners, gathered for a press conference in August to announce Delta would launch daily flights to Amsterdam in May. The addition will be TPA’s 20th nonstop international destination and fifth European city served.
“Pinellas to start bus service to Tampa International Airport this summer” (March 9, Tampa Bay Times): At long last, Pinellas County got its first express bus to the Airport, launching the PSTA route from the Gateway area to the Rental Car Center bus stop in June. Soon after, HART launched service from Pasco County to TPA, expanding mass transit options for the region even further.
“Oh, how we love Tampa International Airport” (Nov. 21, Tampa Bay Times): When the Wall Street Journal left TPA off a list of top airports because it wasn’t large enough to make the list, the traveling community cried foul, coming to fierce defense of the beloved institution.