Air Transport World

From omega to alpha. (improvements at Tampa International Airport)(includes description of new terminal facilities)

On March 9, Tampa International Airport (TPA) officially opened the sixth - and last - airside terminal envisioned as part of the new improvement program, begun in 1971. The opening of Airside "A" allows TPA to start the second phase of its master plan: Complete rebuilding of its first four airside terminals. This project is designed to permit the airport to accommodate a projected 20 million passengers annually in the, period just past the turn of the century.

When TPA officially opened on April 15, 1971, it was the first airport in the U.S. to have separate landside and airside terminals connected by automated shuttle cars that carried passengers between the core terminal and its satellites. At that time, six satellites were envisioned in the long-term projection. But only four were built. The first and last sites - "A" and "F" - simply were left vacant.

As part of the development plan, the four inner satellites were to be designed, built and paid for by the four major airlines using the airport. But they were to be financed through the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, the airport's owner and operator.

Each terminal then would be controlled by the airline responsible for it under a lease agreement expiring in 1999.

Under terms of the leases, the host carrier in each terminal makes lease payments to the airport, then subleases the extra gates to other carriers. At the termination of the leases, control of the terminals reverts to the airport authority. Since the four airlines involved - Delta, Eastern, Northwest and National - could not come up with a common design for the airside terminals, each designed its own. …

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