Tampa International (TPA)

Located in Hillsborough County, Florida, Tampa International Airport (TPA) is largely recognized for its aesthetic and attractive architecture, as well as its hassle-free design at the nation’s first airport to offer commercial flights. The airport is centered around a large terminal where all ticketing and baggage operations are performed and than four satellite structures are where passengers board and disembark from the airlines. TPA was designed this way to limit foot movement to 700 ft between the automobile and the airliner.

TPA services 21 passenger airlines at 59 active gates in four terminals, which are called Airsides at Tampa International. TPA also service nine all-cargo airlines, including: DHL, Worldwide Express and Federal Express. Tampa’s Airsides are alphabetically distinguished by the letters A, C, E and F. The original Airsides were built in the mid-1960s and then renovated in 1985 to contemporary facilities with food courts and gift shops. The Airsides hold modern concessions such as: Pizza Hut, Chili’s To Go, Starbucks Coffee, Quiznos Subs and Jose Cuervo Tequileria.

The three-runway airport, longest being 18R/36L at 11,002 ft, welcomed 19,045,390 passengers in 2005. A 9.48% increase in travelers from the year before. To keep this amount of travelers moving efficiently airport, designers development the Landside Terminal with express elevators and escalators to the three levels of the terminal. The Landside Terminal’s first levels is baggage claim, the second level retains the ticketing and check-ins area of airline operations and the third level is the transfer level where passengers will find shuttle stations to their respective Airsides en route to their gates.

Throughout the terminal complex Tampa International operates on a color-coding system. The colors blue and red indicate baggage claim areas and the ticketing counters. Airlines are given a color as well, if the airlines are located at Airsides south of the terminal their color is blue and if the airlines are north of the terminal their color red. The airport has run off this special organization since 1971.

History of Tampa International

The Benoist Flying Boat was the first commercial flight company to run the waterfronts from Tampa to St. Petersburg, Florida. Pioneer aviator Tony Jannus started the service New Year’s Day 1914. The original airport was completed in 1928 on the 160-acre property at Drew Field, which is six miles west of Downtown Tampa. During WW II the Field was taken over by the government, and was renamed Drew Army Airbase.

In 1950 Drew Field was renamed Tampa International Airport and that same year Trans Canada Airlines arrived and started international service. In 1972, the 227 ft. control tower was the tallest in the United Stated. A revolving rooftop restaurant bought plenty of attention standing on top of the Marriott Airport Hotel when the hotel opened at TPA in December 1973.

TPA is also home of the first fully-automated people mover system, and also has the longest running track of the Bombardier CX-100 Shuttle Cars. In the 2010s TPA plans on expanding the airport by building a second terminal and developing a new runway.

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