Tampa International Airport Information

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Page Updated on 5/25/15.

Built in 1971, the current Tampa International Airport terminal complex is full of many design elements that made the airport revolutionary at its time. Most notable of these elements is the Landside-Airside design of the terminal complex. Rather than having a series of terminal and concourse buildings connected via physical hallways, Tampa International Airport’s concourses are connected to the main (or Landside) terminal via people movers. Orlando Internationa Airport’s current terminal was also built in a very similar fashion to Tampa International Airport due to the success of the Landside-Airside design. Sadly though, Tampa and Orlando are the only two airports in the world that posses this unique design as widespread usage of the Landside-Airside design never materialized.


General Overview

"The Meeting Place" by Roy Butler sits on Level 2 of Tampa International Airport's main terminal. This art piece has been a fixture in the main terminal since the 1970s. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
“The Meeting Place” by Roy Butler sits on Level 2 of Tampa International Airport’s main terminal. This art piece has been a fixture in the main terminal since the 1970s. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012, June, 2013.

The Tampa International Airport Complex comprises of a three-level main terminal complex, with a six story parking garage on top of it. To the north is the current on-site airport hotel and control tower, as well as support facilities (i.e. rental car facility, etc), and to the south is an eight level parking structure primarily dedicated to overnight parking.

Bombardier C-100 Tram leaving Airside C. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012, December, 2008.
Bombardier C-100 (today branded as the Innovia 100) Tram leaving Airside C. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012, December, 2008.

On the outer perimeter of the main terminal are four Airside terminals (A, C, E, and F), all connected by people movers. A provision has been made to rebuild Airside D as part of the airport’s ongoing expansion and improvement project. The south (or Long Term) parking structure also has a monorail on level 5 that connects passengers from the garage to the main terminal building. Both of these systems were supplied and still operated today by Bombardier Transportation.

Each Airside building was built in accordance to their primary airline carrier’s needs. Airside A was designed and built in 1995 with the needs of Continental Airlines (now part of United Airlines) in mind. Airside C in 2004 for Southwest Airlines, Airside E in 2002 for Delta Air Lines, and Airside F in 1987 to accommodate international flights. The original concept of the airport called for four identical looking Airside buildings.


Airport Expansion

Another Roy Butler art piece on level 2 of the main terminal. Notice the red paneled walls in the background? That's one of the elevator banks. The entire main terminal complex has seen significant updates since the late 1990s. Now the complex is undergoing its most massive renovation and expansion project to date. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
Another Roy Butler art piece on level 2 of the main terminal. Notice the red paneled walls in the background? That’s one of the elevator banks. The entire main terminal complex has seen significant updates since the late 1990s, when renovation of level 3 began. Now the complex is undergoing its most massive renovation and expansion project to date, with an all new people mover line connecting the remote parking garages to the south and more. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012. June, 2013.

As noted in the photos above, the airport complex is currently undergoing a massive renovation and expansion project. Although much of the main terminal was renovated between 1997 and 2011, beginning with level 3, and then moving down to level 2, and most recently, level 1; the original bricked walls of the elevator banks remained visible to passengers and carpeting on levels 2 and 3 were becoming outdated. Additionally, restrooms throughout the building were in need of a refresh. So piece by piece, airport administration began carrying out the largest airport improvement project in the history of the current terminal.

Such massive improvements to the main terminal will include new flooring and wall paneling, much of it has already been installed, as well as new signage at each Airside shuttle entrance. Shuttle entrances for Airsides A, C, and E will all be modified to make more room for shops and amenities. The former shuttle entrance for Airside B will become a gateway for an outdoor terrace and the planned people mover line to the Economy Garage, Rental Car Center, and possibly down the road…an Intermodal Center in the WestShore Business District (the latter is heavily dependent on state funds, as well as the passage of transit referenda in both Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties). The new people mover line will be designed, built, operated, and maintained by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The company will be bringing in a variant of its Crystal Mover APM trains to the area, and has also been awarded contracts for Miami and Orlando’s airport people movers. Additionally, Level 3 will become a more open environment with kiosks towards the central portion and walled-in shops towards the ends.

A conceptual rendering of the Crystal Mover APM trains to be used for TPA Airport’s planned people mover line. Photo Credit: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

In regards to the planned people mover line, the northern stub can be extended northward to a 2nd terminal site that would be built if passenger traffic warrants for its necessity. This 2nd North Terminal was originally the focal point of the airport’s Master Plan, due to the growing number of passengers traversing the airport each day. However, after the recent economic downturn and the consolidation of the airline industry (which brought forth mergers of the six legacy carriers; Delta and Northwest, United and Continental, and American and US Airways, to form just three airlines; Delta, United, and American respectively), airport administration indefinitely shelved those plans and instead focused their efforts on modernizing and expanding the existing terminal.

Eventually, improvements will be made to arrival and departure vehicle ramp sites on both the north and south sides of the main terminal, and a new security checkpoint for Airside C will be built, which in-turn will result in the relocation of the on-site hotel. The new security checkpoint area will be shared with a future rebuilt Airside D. While it is still possible that the 2nd northern terminal could be built further down the road, it is highly unlikely that it will be warranted prior to 2040 if current economic conditions do not substantially improve.

Tampa International Airport has released two virtual walkthroughs.

Video Credits: Tampa International Airport.


Practical Information

This section will provide some useful information if you plan on traveling into or out of Tampa International Airport. For the most up-to-date info, please visit the airport’s website.


Getting there

Tampa International Airport’s terminal currently only has one point of egress, which is by way of a limited access highway spur that travels beneath one of the taxiways. This spur can be accessed from the Veterans Expressway (State Road 589), State Road 60, and State Road 616 (Spruce St). Several service roads connect to support facilities such as the remote parking structures, the on-site post office, and a cell phone waiting lot (where people can wait for friends or loved ones coming off a flight without causing congestion to the arrival drives).

Click here for a map of the airport location by Google and the airport’s physical address.

For public transit customers, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) Route 30 provides bus service to the airport seven-days-a-week with 30-minute frequency all day. For current schedules, click here. To visit the HART website, click here. Please know that if you carry any bags, they have to be away from the aisles. I strongly advise anyone travelling via transit to/from an airport to please not carry a lot of bags (and if possible, avoid carrying large suitcases, etc.) Some public transit districts are not very friendly to customers carrying airport baggage onto buses and trains due to safety reasons.


Parking

Tampa International Airport has three parking facilities, the Short-Term parking garage, the structure that is located on top of the main terminal building, is primarily designed for passengers flying out during a very short span, as well as visitors coming in to greet or send off friends or loved ones. The Long-Term parking garage is primarily designed for those parking their cars overnight (for more than 2 days). The Economy garage, located to the southeast of the main terminal, provides for additional parking options, especially in a case where the Long Term garage may be full. Shuttle bus service is provided every 7 to 10 minutes from the garage to the main terminal. Valet parking is available at the Short Term parking garage by dropping your vehicle off at the BLUE (or southern) departure drive of the main terminal.

Parking rates vary per garage, and all have an hourly rate, as well as a flat daily maximum (per 24-hours). Click here to see current rates, as they are subject to change. Those who have a SunPass transponder and have activated the SunPass PLUS feature can use the designated SunPass PLUS lanes at the entrance of any of the garages and pay for parking with their SunPass account through the designated SunPass PLUS lanes at the parking toll plaza. Having a SunPass is definitely a convenient way to pay for parking at many major Florida airports, and if you travel to/from Brandon, you can hop onto I-275, and then to I-4 and the Selmon Expressway via the newly built I-4/Selmon Connector and never have to encounter a traffic signal in between!

And one more note; Tampa International Airport DOES NOT UTILIZE A PARKING RESERVATION SYSTEM.


Airport Ammenities

Each Airside, as well as the main terminal, have a collection of shops and eateries to allow passengers to grab something on the go. All facilities are equipped with Wi-Fi access, and outdoor smoking areas are provided. The main terminal, as well as each Airside, are adorned with various public art displays. Staying a night or two, or three? The airport has an on-site Marriott hotel that is accessible via a sky bridge from the north end of level 3 of the main terminal. The hotel has been recently renovated, although this will likely be the last such renovation if airport expansion plans proceed.


Airline Listing

Here’s a brief listing of the major airlines that serve each Airside terminal. For an up-to-date listing, please visit the TPA Airport website, as information is subject to change.

  • Airside A – Gates 1-18
    • Alaska Airlines
    • Frontier Airlines
    • JetBlue Airways
    • Silver Airways
    • Spirit Airlines
    • United Airlines
  • Airside C – Gates 30-45
    • Southwest Airlines (being the largest airline at an airport has it’s perks! Sole gate operation!)
      • Gate 45 is speficially equipped for charter flights.
  • Airside E – Gates 62-75
    • Air Canada
    • Delta Air Lines
  • Airside F – Gates 76-90
    • American Airlines
    • British Airways
    • Cayman Airways
    • Copa Airlines
    • Edelweiss Air
    • WestJet


This page is still under construction

Please note that this page is still under construction. More sections and photos will be added as time permits. Thank you!

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