NewsPinellas County


PIE International expecting 180,000 in busiest holiday season

PIE International expecting busiest holiday season
Posted at 5:02 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 19:11:35-05

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is warning passengers ahead of time that this is expected to be the airport’s busiest holiday season ever; with an estimated 180,000 passengers through New Year’s Day.

“We got here a little less than two hours before and there wasn’t a wait. But unfortunately, our plane is delayed now,” passenger Markus Haasch said.

Still, Haasch said he was glad he and his family took an Uber early.

“It makes it a lot more convenient, so that we don’t have to deal with all the traffic and that kind of stuff, when you’re getting ready to travel,” Haasch said.

Mark Sprague, deputy director for PIE International, said getting a ride to and from the airport, as well as arriving two hours early, are both good ways to make sure you did not miss your flight.

“Parking is definitely the big one right now. We currently have just about 2,100 spots with the end of this project, which will be approximately February of 2020, we’ll have an additional 1,000,” Sprague said.

Otis Soohey drove to the airport with his rental car, dodging traffic and construction, but he said it did not look too bad.

“I would say on a scale of 1 to 10. I would say it’s probably a 5 or a 6. You know, it’s fairly busy but steady. Does seem like the employees here have it under control pretty well,” Soohey said. “Good luck to them tomorrow, for those that are here, hopefully I’m not one of them.”

Airport officials said, it appeared, the day before Thanksgiving would be the busiest day of the holiday season with the most passengers coming through for departures between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.