marine exhibit

Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport is a public airport located six miles (10 km) west of the central business district of Tampa, in Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. This airport is publicly owned by Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. It serves the Tampa Bay Area and has been widely praised for its attractive architecture and hassle-free design. The airport was known as Drew Field Municipal Airport until 1952. Tampa International Airport currently serves as a main hub for Gulfstream International Airlines under the Continental Connection name. It is ranked number 27th in passenger movements in North America.


Tampa Bay was the birthplace of commercial airline service. The St Petersburg Tampa Airboat Line began operations on New Year's day 1914 flying between the St. Petersburg and Tampa waterfronts. A Benoist Flying Boat flown by pioneer aviator Tony Jannus was used on the first flight. Unfortunately the airline ceased operations by the middle of the year.

In 1928 the city completed the 160-acre Drew Field six miles west of Downtown Tampa. A second more popular airport (Peter O. Knight) was opened on Davis Island near Downtown Tampa in 1935. The Knight Airport had a small but lovely Art-Deco Terminal that was constructed by the WPA. Both Eastern and National Airlines occupied the airport until 1946.

The United States Army Air Force took over Drew Field during World War II and expanded and modernized the airport. The airfield was used by Third Air Force and renamed it "Drew Army Airfield". Third Air Force used it as a training center by 120,000 combat air crews and flew antisubmarine patrols from the airfield.

After the hostilities, Eastern and National Airlines moved to Drew Field. The reason for the relocation was that the Peter O. Knight Airport was too small to handle the new Douglas DC-4, DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation prop-liners that were being placed into service. During this period the airlines were housed in the former Base Operations Building which was converted into a terminal.

Trans Canada Airlines inaugurated international flights in 1950 and Drew Field was renamed Tampa International Airport. The airport's second terminal opened in 1952 near the intersection of Columbus Drive and West Shore Blvd. The building, which was built for three airlines, was soon swamped. The Civil Aeronautics Board granted Capital, Delta, Northeast, Northwest and Trans World Airlines authority to fly to Tampa during the late 1950s and as a result created havoc at the little terminal. An annex was built east of the terminal to accommodate the new carriers.

Jet-powered operations began in 1959 when Eastern Air Lines introduced the Lockheed L-188 Electra. The following year National Airlines began turbojet service with the Douglas DC-8 jetliner. Flights to Mexico City began in 1961 with weekly service by Pan American.

Congestion became a serious problem at the 1952 Terminal when the airlines began to replace their piston powered equipment with larger jetliners. As a temporary measure the terminal was once again expanded to handle the growth in traffic.

During the early 1960s, the aviation authority began making plans to build a replacement terminal in an undeveloped site at the airport. Airport leaders chose the Landside/Airside design in 1965 after a careful study of different types of terminals.

Construction on the new terminal began in 1968 between the airport's parallel jet-capable runways. When completed in 1971 the new jetport was highly praised by the press. Prior to its official April 15 opening, 60,000 people toured the new facility during a two day open house event. National Airlines flight 36 from LAX was the first to arrive at the terminal. After touching down at 05:26 am the jet taxied to Airside E to disembark its passengers.

The 227-foot tall ATC control tower became operational on July 15, 1972 and at the time was the tallest in the United States. The Host/Marriott Airport Hotel with its revolving rooftop restaurant got plenty of attention when it opened its doors on December 1973.

Northwest and National Airlines brought the Jumbo Jet to the airport late in 1971 with the introduction of the Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10. This was followed by the introduction of the Lockheed Tristar a year later by Eastern Air Lines. National Airlines began trans Atlantic DC-10 service to Amsterdam and Paris in 1977.

During the following decades, the airport was expanded and improved to handle more traffic and additional airlines. New facilities included air cargo terminals, general aviation terminals and numerous airfield improvements. The Landside/Airside Terminal was expanded and its interiors were remodeled. New Airsides designed to handle larger airliners and more passengers replaced the four original structures. Both Delta Air Lines and US Airways opened maintenance bases at the airport to service their growing fleets. jetBlue Airways has recently made the airport a focus destination for connecting flights to the Caribbean, like Orlando.

The present terminal facilities are quickly reaching their design capacity of 20-million passengers a year. Improvements currently in progress will increase capacity to 25-million passengers a year. At this time, new runway is being planned (17-35) to increase capacity in fair-weather conditions. In addition, a second Landside Airside Terminal will be built to the north of the current facility in the 2010s (scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015), allowing the airport to serve over 50-million passengers a year by 2025. Phase I of the economy parking garage was completed in November 2005. Phase II of the economy garage opened ahead of schedule in November 2005, bringing a total of 5,600 parking spaces. Plans to start SunPass at TIA for its parking garages and lots is expected to begin in spring 2007.

Other future plans include the possible construction of a light rail link from the airport to downtown Tampa and the WestShore district , and construction of a bus transfer center on the airport property, allowing passengers to better connect to the number of proposed bus routes by both HART and PSTA

Terminal, airlines and destinations

Tampa International Airport's Landside/Airside terminal was the first of its type in the world. There is a central Landside Terminal where baggage and ticketing functions take place. The Landside Terminal is surrounded by four Airside satellites where airliner embarkment and disembarkment occur. Each Airside is connected to the Landside Terminal via an elevated automated people mover (APM) system which employs 16 Bombardier CX-100 Shuttle Cars. TPA was the first airport in the world to deploy a fully automated, driverless people mover system and is host to Bombardier Transportation’s longest-running APM system. The terminal was originally designed to limit the walking distance between the automobile and airliner to 700 feet; today, it has increased to about 1,000 feet, due mostly in part to the larger, more modern airside buildings which have replaced the original, smaller structures. The future of the Airport is certain to see continued growth and success. Many plans have been set in motion to expand as the Tampa Bay area continues to thrive.

Airport Amenities

Airport conveniences that are free of charge include passenger paging, wireless internet access, cell phone waiting lot with flight information, first hour terminal parking, shuttle service from the economy garage, real-time flight information and travelers aid services. Other services include eateries located before passenger checkpoints, touch screen information kiosks, information about local events and outdoor smoking areas.

The logo

The logo repesents the blue waters of Tampa Bay with a jetliner flying into a downtown Tampa sunset. It is known as the "Spirit of Flight".

The color-coding system

Since its opening on April 15, 1971, Tampa International Airport has used a special color-coding system throughout the terminal complex. The Baggage Claim Areas and Ticket Counters are color-coded Blue and Red. Airlines are assigned a color depending on their location within the Landside Terminal Building. The airlines found in the south side of the terminal are color-coded blue. The carriers located in the north side are color coded red. The cores were also assigned names to assist color blind patrons. The Blue side names are Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart. The Red side names are Igor Sikorsky and Chuck Yeager. The Long Term Parking Garage also uses the special color coding system. The four elevator cores have names and colors to make it easier for customers to remember where they've parked. Wright Brothers - Orange, Tony Jannus - Purple, Robert Goddard - Green and Charles Lindbergh - Brown. The Economy Parking Garage (EPG) is also split into two sections Purple and Yellow. The EPG cores have no names at the present.

The Landside Terminal

The Landside Terminal was designed with convenience in mind. Express elevators and escalators keep passenger traffic moving smoothly, with few bottlenecks.

Level 1 (Baggage Claim) contains all inbound baggage facilities and baggage belts. The Blue Rental Car facility was relocated from its crammed Bag Claim location, to a consolidated facility beneath the long term parking garage in 2002. On November 15, 2006 a new Red Rental Car facility and garage opened adjacent to the Marriott Hotel.

A full-scale baggage claim renovation is planned for 2008/2009/2010.

Level 2 (Ticketing) contains all ticketing/check-in functions. The level also contains a Charter desk reserved for flights that do not normally utilize TPA. The Ticketing area received a major renovation/expansion in 2002 and may see another round of expansion in the 2010s due to increasing passenger traffic and future airline additions.

Level 3 (Transfer Level) includes the airside shuttle stations and a shopping area known as the Airport Galleria. The airport Marriott Hotel is adjacent to the main terminal. Tampa's facilities are almost entirely housed in the public access main terminal. The facilities are mostly operated and run by three airport retail companies - HMS Host, Stellar Partners, and Bay Area Concessions.

  • There are two food courts on level 3, operating on opposite sides of the building. The Galleria also features the most profitable TGI Friday's in the country and diverse shopping attractions, such as a Ron Jon Surf Shop. There is also an outdoor smoking/observation patio located where the Airside B shuttle bay once stood.
  • Level 3 has undergone numerous major renovations. The main building was renovated in 1997. Shuttle bay expansions were constructed in 1986 for Airside F, 1994 for Airside A, 2001 for Airside E, and 2004 for Airside C. Future expansion plans include a relocation of the shuttle bay for Airside E by 2010, and, if the plans for a light rail system in the Tampa Bay area come to fruition, a light rail station will be constructed by 2015 at the current Observation Deck location. The airport also has plans on building a second terminal building just to the north of the existing complex.

Service building

When the airport opened its doors in 1971, the Service Building went into operation as well. It housed the very first Communications Center, Police dispatch, employee cafeteria and maintenance locker rooms. The building is located across from the Red Baggage and Ticketing levels. It was primarily intended to house mechanical equipment such as the chiller plant and electrical transformers. Since then it has been expanded to two levels which was in the original design in 1968. Today it houses the original facilities with the addition of offices, rental car counters, badging and a receptionist desk. The Police department/Lost & Found has a lobby on level two (ticketing level) for walk-in lost & found requests.

Parking facilities

Currently, there is over 20,000 parking spaces avaliable at the airport. These spaces are split between the Short Term Parking Garage, the Long Term Parking Garage, and the Economy Parking Garage. As of right now, there is an ongoing expansion of the Economy Parking Garages which is in its second phase of construction.

Short term parking garage

Levels 4-9 of the Landside Terminal Building house the short term parking garage. The garage was built with the airport complex in 1971 for added passenger convenience. Originally three levels, the garage was expanded in 1982 to six levels and contains 3,612 spaces.

Long term parking garage

Long term parking was originally a large lot sitting on what is today, the present-day long term parking garage. The garage was built in several phases from 1990 to 1997 after increased passenger traffic swamped the parking lot beyond capacity. A monorail (situated on Level Five of the garage) connects passengers to and from the short term parking garage (Level Five) and the Landside Terminal. The garage can hold a total of 7,635 spaces on six levels.

Economy parking garage

On November 1, 2005 phase I-A of the garage opened to the public and then on May 19, 2006 phase I-B opened. The garage is 8,043 spaces large and is divided into two color-coded sections - purple and gold (yellow). There is also a surface lot and overflow lot for use during the holidays. A free shuttle service takes passengers to the terminal drop-off twenty-four hours a day. Construction began in early 2008 on phase II which will be an exact copy of the first phase.

Cell phone waiting lot

In an effort to decrease congestion within the Landside Terminal, particularly the baggage claim areas, a cell phone waiting lot was built alongside one of the remote overflow lots. It includes a large four panel flight status board, showing up-to-the-minute arrival information. This allows awaiting family members and friends of arriving passengers to wait in their vehicles until the passenger calls. Then the arriving passenger(s) can be picked up curbside at the Landside Terminal without creating curbside congestion problems. The lot has portable bathrooms, WiFi, recorded CCTV surveillance and around-the-clock police patrols. Construction began in early 2008 to expand the cell phone waiting lot. A second flight display will be added and additional spaces opened.


Monorail was installed in 1991 when the new long term parking garage was built and opened on December 16. It was the first of its kind in the world to include six driverless, electrically propelled cars that are completely computer controlled. The system was also the first to have active switches and it is monitored from the airport's communications center. There are four long term stations. Monorail circles the long term parking garage and connects to the short term garage via an elevated bridge to stop at four additional stations. Monorail is free to use and runs twenty-four hours a day except for a once-a-week maintenance shut-down in the overnight hours. Bombardier Transportation maintains the system by contract and the Aviation Authority owns it.

Current airsides

Today, there are four active airsides (A, C, E and F) with over 60 gates. All of the active airsides are modern, state-of-the-art facilities constructed after 1985. All the airsides include a food court and gift shop. They include outdoor smoking patios that are strategically placed. Airsides E and F contain duty free shops in addition to the regular gift shops to serve passengers arriving or departing on international flights. A brief description of each airside and the airlines they occupy are listed below, including the major cities/hubs that each airline serves from TPA.

Airside A - Gates 1-18 (1995-Present)

Airside A is a facility with sixteen narrowbody jet stands that opened on March 16, 1995 and was designed by Continental Airlines in anticipation of expanded operations from Tampa which never materialized. The facility includes a commuter gate (Gate A1) for Continental Connection and six security screening lanes. Widebody equipment can be handled at gates A4, A5, and A8 (with A6 and A7 blocked), but cannot accept international arrivals as the FIS station is located at Airside F. Presently, no carrier offers regularly-scheduled widebody flights into Airside A. Southwest Airlines used Airside A from the time they started service in Tampa in 1996 until Airside C, where they currently operate, was completed in 2005.

The facility features high ceilings, energy-efficient windows, ample seating areas, a children's play area, a business center in one of the former smoking lounges, a fast-food outlet, bar, restaurant, gift shop, and newsstand. Continental Airlines had planned to build an all-new Presidents Club in an unfinished mezzanine space on the third level, but this project was put on hold due to the industry downturn following September 11, 2001. With the "CO" code appearing on roughly 60 daily departures, Tampa is generally regarded to be one of Continental's strongest markets in Florida, with an estimated 16.9% market share including regional affiliates (according to the 2005 revision of the TPA Master Plan).

Airside B - former Gates 19-30 (1971-1991)

Airside B was closed in 1991 with the demise of Eastern Airlines and sat vacant until its demolition in 2003. Today an overnight aircraft hardstand and an automated baggage sorting facility for Airside A sit on the former airside's site. A light rail connection may be added around 2010–2015 if plans are successful.

Airside C - Gates 30-45 (1971-2003, 2005-Present)

Airside C was the last airside to be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up. The sixteen-gate facility was dedicated and opened to passengers on April 19, 2005 and was designed by Alfonso Architects of Tampa, Florida. Southwest Airlines controls a majority of the gates. Besides a food court and gift shop, Airside C includes the following:

  • Two gates and a future third level that could accommodate the Airbus A380.
  • A gate (Gate 45) and ground-level facility designed for charter flights. Tampa's sports teams frequently take advantage of this feature while traveling out of TPA Airport, since players are able to bypass the Landside Terminal, clear security and go directly to the plane.
  • A children's play area.
  • Two outdoor smoking patios.
  • A built-in outbound baggage system.
  • Ten security screening lanes equipped with the latest screening machines including one "puffer" explosives walk-thru detection machine.

The airlines that occupy Airside C are listed below:

  • Midwest Airlines (Milwaukee)
  • Southwest Airlines (Albany, Albuquerque, Austin, Baltimore/Washington, Birmingham (AL), Buffalo, Chicago-Midway, Columbus (OH), Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, Houston-Hobby, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Long Island/Islip, Louisville, Manchester (NH), Nashville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis, San Antonio, Washington-Dulles, West Palm Beach)
  • Spirit Airlines (Atlantic City, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale)

Airside D - former Gates 46-55 (1971-2005)

Airside D closed on May 15, 2005 after its final tenants (AirTran and JetBlue) moved to Airside A. The facility was demolished in early May 2007. The apron is used as hard-stand aircraft parking. This building was the last original airside.

Airside E - Gates 62-75 (1971-2000, 2002-Present)

Airside E was the first airside to be demolished and rebuilt. The current fourteen-gate facility was designed for Delta Air Lines and was dedicated/opened to passengers on October 15, 2002. The airside's many amenities (besides the food court and gift shops) are as follows:

  • A children's play area.
  • A built-in outbound baggage system.
  • Seven security screening lanes.
  • A duty-free shop for Air Canada passengers.
  • Two airline lounges located on level 3 (the Delta Crown Room occupies the northern space, while the other is presently vacant).

The airlines that occupy Airside E are listed below:

Airside F - Gates 76-90 (1987-Present)

Airside F was dedicated/opened to passengers on November 4, 1987 and was designed for international flights. The fourteen-gate facility includes two airline lounges (one of them occupied by US Airways' Club and a customs/immigration center (on level 1). The food court was expanded in 2000, and a major overhaul of the security screening and baggage facilities began in 2003. A baggage sorting facility opened beside the terminal in 2005 and a security screening area expansion is currently underway. Once all improvements are complete, the security screening area will increase in capacity from its present four lanes.

Original airsides

The original TPA airsides were designed in the mid 1960s as four identical facilities. The concept was later scrapped for unknown reasons and the facilities were eventually built around the requirements of their then primary tenant airlines. Thus creating the four dissimilar facilities that stood from their opening in 1971 to 2000. Each airside building was three stories tall and included a minimum of ten gates, a cocktail lounge, snack bar, and gift shop. Each airside was maintained by the Airline in which it was built by until 1999. All of the facilities (except Airside B) were renovated in the early/mid 1990s but received no further modifications during their life span.

Below is a brief description of the four original airsides and the airlines that occupied them throughout the years. The bolded airlines indicate the primary (anchor) tenants for each facility.

Airside B - Gates 19-30

  • Airside B was a twelve-gate facility that was designed by Eastern Airlines and was the first original airside to shut down. The closure was the direct result of Eastern's cessation of operations in 1991. There were preliminary plans to renovate and revive the airside during the early 1990s, but efforts failed and planning for Airside A commenced immediately in 1992. The airside was not rebuilt due to a lack of overnight parking for aircraft, the facility's close proximity to one of TPA's runways, and the need for a separate automated baggage sorting facility for Airside A (since Airside A could not accommodate a built-in facility due to its pre-2001 construction).

Airside C - Gates 31-41

  • Airside C was an eleven-gate facility designed by Delta Air Lines. The facility originally housed a customs/immigration center for arriving Air Canada and Pan Am international flights. The center was closed in 1987 and a Delta Crown Room was added. The airside was renovated (and its shuttles replaced) in 1996 but never received any further modification. By the late 1990s, Delta's presence in Airside C was dramatically increasing, and so was the congestion and lack of gate space. The airline soon requested HCAA to build a new facility for them. Airside E was deemed inactive by 1997 and its future quickly went up in the air. In 1998, it was decided that Airside E be demolished and rebuilt for Delta. After a brief halt in construction due to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the new Airside E opened in 2002 and Delta immediately moved in. After much debate by the HCAA about whether to demolish or renovate the aging facility, Airside C was then slated for demolition and replacement in 2003.

Airside D - Gates 46-55A

  • Airside D was the last of the original airsides to close. The facility was designed by Northwest Airlines and was originally without some jet-ways until government airline regulation ended in 1978. The airside was renovated in 1996 (and its original shuttles were replaced). Northwest moved to Airside A in 1999 and United moved to the rebuilt Airside E in 2002. Airside D closed in May 2005 and its remaining tenants (AirTran, JetBlue, and Spirit) were relocated to Airsides A and C. The facility was demolished in May 2007 and the site will eventually be used for the Control Tower and Ground Radar relocation in preparation for the New North Terminal facility. An 8-10 Gate replacement facility may be built down the road depending on capacity needs, but is not likely until 2020 or beyond.

Airside E - Gates 61-70

  • The original Airside E was designed by National Airlines and boasted a slightly different layout from the other airsides. Its boarding gates were on the third level (as opposed to the second level in the other airsides). This was due to the fact that the facility was designed specifically for the DC-10. The first level was open to allow tugs to drive right through. This was due to the airsides close proximity to the taxiway. Airside E occupied National until its demise and takeover by Pan Am. Pan Am in-turn, occupied the facility until its own demise. Thereafter, the facility was renovated (in 1991) and Continental became its final major tenant. The facility was closed in 1995 after Continental's new terminal (Airside A) opened. The airside was demolished in 2002 and replaced by its current facility.

Ground operations

Public art program

The Airport's public art program was established in 1998 to enhance the traveling public's experience and to bring forth Florida's history and culture. A committee selects the art through a jury process.

Permanent exhibits:

  • Landside Terminal Level 3 at the observation deck includes paintings, sculptures, glass art and mixed media presentations. Various artists contributed.
  • Airside E boasts a collection of 7 WPA (Works Projects Administration) murals which where originally painted in the 1930s and restored for display. These originally adorned the Peter O. Knight Airport until 1965. Artist is George Snow Hill.
  • Landside Terminal Level 2 has a collection of copper, nickel, silver and bronze alloy suspended Pelicans and a mangrove tree sculpture. Original to the airport when it opened in 1971 the collection is known as "The Meeting Place". The mangrove tree is 15-feet tall with a flock of 22 life-sized pelicans all in copper roosting and circling around. Pelicans are also "flying" above the escalators. Artist Roy Butler of Plantation, FL.
  • Landside Terminal Level 2 near the United ticket counters is a presentation of 28 Cirkut images (A type of Kodak camera). They are 20.8 x 10 feet. The photographs depict the unique history of social and urban growth of Tampa, FL and the west coast. Included are a team photo of the New York Yankees (1927) and a 1922 Gasparilla Invasion. Artist: Brothers Al and Jean Bugert
  • Blue Side Baggage Claim includes artwork by Elle Terry Leonard and Josh Johnson above the marine exhibit.
  • Airport Chapel level 3 of the Main Terminal has the first ever commissioned artwork of glass art adorning the entryway door and interior. Artist Yvonne Barlog.
  • Richard J. Frank's watercolor on paper "Off Doolin" hangs in the shopping arcade of the landside Terminal.
  • Ticket Level/Red Baggage Claim Tapestries were hand-made by twenty women from Phumalanga, Swaziland in Africa. Each is 34 feet by 8 feet and depict familiar Florida nature scenes. They serve two purposes. The first is to provide eye-pleasing decoration and the second is to provide a sound absorption method.
  • Red Baggage Claim Aquarium tile collage by E. Joseph McCarty.
  • Main Terminal Level 3 "World Traveler" glass vase. Uses the graal and overlay technique by Duncan McClellan.

The Airport also has a collection of rotating work and exhibits on loan in addition to the permanent collections. They include the exhibit at Airside A security screening and the gallery in the arcade to the Marriott Hotel.

  • Airside C includes: (totaling over $1 million)
  • Spiraculum, a collection of twenty-six mosaic floor medallions at the shuttle lobby by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel.
  • Final Boarding Call, an 11 ft. by 17 ft. Oil painting on Belgium linen by Christopher Still. It's located at the TSA checkpoint.
  • q, a 90-foot long sculpture of cut-out figures. It depicts travelers from different time periods and forms a timeline of advances in airline travel.
  • Barnstormer, an eight foot tall silicon bronze statue of a pioneer pilot. It weighs more than 1,000 pounds and sits atop a 4-foot high cement pedestal. Artist: Harrison Covington
  • Orange Blossom, an aluminum sculpture by Stephen Robin. The fragrant flower blooms in the spring and is Florida's state flower. This sculpture is 13 ft. by 9 ft. by 5 ft. and weighs about 1,300 lbs.


  • The airport's car rental market is in the top 5 among all U.S. Airports.
  • It was the first airport in the world to use a people mover system.
  • The windows used in the Marriott Hotel are triple paned.
  • Airside C is the largest airside satellite.
  • Airside F was the first modern airside to be built in 1987 and is the smallest of the four airsides.
  • The air traffic control tower was the tallest (227-Feet) in the U.S. when it went into service in 1972.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' team headquarters were adjacent to the airport from their inception in the 1970s to 2006, when they moved to a new facility at the former Tampa Bay Center. It is located just across the street from their home field, Raymond James Stadium, and close to the airport.


There has never been an aircraft crash or major incident involving aircraft at this airport to date.

See also


External links

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