NewsHillsborough County


Tampa International Airport hosting public meetings on expansion, emerging technologies

Tampa International Airport Gate A
Posted at 5:28 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 20:36:32-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Major airlines across the US are gearing up as a travel boom is expected in the months ahead. For Tampa International Airport (TPA), they're ready for the challenge.

“We refer to this as the community’s airport," TPA Vice President of Planning Development Jeff Siddle said. "So, we have to be ready whenever we develop. We always have to be looking forward to make sure it’s ready for the growth."

The first step into looking towards what's ahead for the airport starts Monday, as airport officials are inviting the public to give feedback on their 2022 Master Plan Update (MPU).

TPA hopes the forum can inform the public on the airport's process which includes looking at operational and customer needs as well as emerging industry trends.

“After coming out of the pandemic and some of the changes that resulted from that the timing is good for us to engage the community and what’s really important for us is we have to grow with the community,” Siddle said.

The 2012 version of the MPU led to expansion, which any visitor can notice upon entry. More gates, more restaurants and those new express lanes that can't be found at any other airport in the country.

“It takes you away from the congestion of the ticket level or the baggage claim level if you are coming in and you do have to check a bag,” Siddle said.

Some of the new emerging technologies introduced was the possible use of autonomous vehicles, self-bag drops for airlines and enhanced TSA screening checkpoints.

Additionally, TPA is looking improving existing terminal capacity, increasing airport access and looking towards the next 20-years of improvements.

One of the more interesting innovations to be discussed is new technologies including autonomous vehicles and electric planes.

“How does that work in the airport environment? Where would they go is really a critical part of this update," Siddle said. "Also to get an understanding of what’s really in the market right now and how does the airport accommodate that need."

German-based Lilium is opening its first US based hub for electric planes in Orlando. On an electric plane, it would take about a half hour to travel between Orlando and Tampa.

For more information on Tampa International's MPU, click here.